Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Nothing to Fear

Rather than off-the bat criticizing CRISPR-edited food, Popular Science says that people should evaluate it using science, noting that the approach could bolster the global food supply.

Researchers have used a CRISPR-based technique to develop a mushroom that resists browning, PopSci's Jen Schwartz says. As the US Department of Agriculture decided that the mushroom didn't fall under its regulatory scope, Schwartz reports that some people have become concerned that edited food would be heading to the market without oversight. But the USDA regulates genetically modified plants that have a potential of becoming pests and as CRISPR-based editing doesn't use bacterial or viral vectors, the agency said it didn't fall under their regulatory scheme, Schwartz says. She notes, though, that the Food and Drug Administration may still weigh in on the mushroom.

She further adds that even browning-resistant mushrooms could be a boon to the food supply, as if the mushrooms don't brown, they are less likely to be thrown out.

Schwartz also argues that since CRISPR is easier to wield than other approaches, it levels the playing field. "It democratizes the technology so engineered plants are not just the domain of a handful of huge companies making feed crops, but can be done by one guy in a university lab with a great idea," she adds.