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Gene-edited food quietly arrives in restaurant cooking oil
Technology
Published in 13-3-2019
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NEW YORK (AP) Somewhere in the Midwest, a restaurant is frying foods with oil made from gene-edited soybeans. That's according to the company making the oil, which says it's the first commercial use of a gene-edited food in the U.S.

Calyxt said it can't reveal its first customer for competitive reasons, but CEO Jim Blome said the oil is "in use and being eaten."

The Minnesota-based company is hoping the announcement will encourage the food industry's interest in the oil, which it says has no trans fats and a longer shelf life than other soybean oils. Whether demand builds remains to be seen, but the oil's transition into the food supply signals gene editing's potential to alter foods without the controversy of conventional GMOs, or genetically modified organisms.

Among the other gene-edited crops being explored: Mushrooms that don't brown, wheat with more fiber, better-producing tomatoes, herbicide-tolerant canola and rice that doesn't absorb soil pollution as it grows.

Unlike conventional GMOs, which are made by injecting DNA from other organisms, gene editing lets scientists alter traits by snipping out or adding specific genes in a lab. Startups including Calyxt say their crops do not qualify as GMOs because what they're doing could theoretically be achieved with traditional crossbreeding.

So far, U.S. regulators have agreed and said several gene-edited crops in development do not require special oversight. It's partly why companies see big potential for gene-edited crops.

"They've been spurred on by the regulatory decisions by this administration," said Greg Jaffe of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a health watchdog group.

But given the many ways gene editing can be used, Jaydee Hanson of the Center for Food Safety said regulators should...

Reference: www.chron.com