The United States’ National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) unanimously voted to amend the current US standards for organic foods. Their update will place a ban on ingredients that are derived from new genetic engineering techniques from being used in certified organic products.
This recommendation to the US Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program will ensure that ingredients derived from new genetic engineering techniques, including synthetic biology, will not be allowed in the production or final product of foods and beverages that are certified organic. Synthetic biology is a new set of genetic engineering techniques that include using synthetic DNA to re-engineer organisms to produce substances they would not normally produce or to edit DNA so as to silence the expression of certain traits.
Dana Perls, the senior food and technology campaigner for Friends of the Earth, told TriplePundit, “The NOSB is clear that GMOs do not belong in organic. In the absence of strong federal regulations on the labeling and commercialization of genetic engineering, the organic standard continues to provide consumers with a transparent and clear way to avoid GMOs in the food they eat.”
One of the new methods of genetic engineering that the NOSB is particularly concerned with is called “synthetic biology.” According to Friends of the Earth (FOE), this new technique designs and creates new organisms that can produce something they would not normally produce, or it can also be used to edit DNA and prevent certain traits from being expressed.
“The National Organic Standards Board has made clear that all kinds of genetic engineering are to be excluded from ‘organic.’ The public expects that government to actually assess the new foods that it is permitting on the market,” said Jaydee Hanson, senior policy analyst, Center for Food Safety. “Unfortunately, the government has failed to update its regulations to adequately assess these new kinds of genetically engineering. When the USDA approves that NOSB recommendations, consumers who want to avoid GMOs will be able to use the Organic Seal to know that the product is not a GMO.”
Source: naturalnews.com, triplepundit.com, foe.org