Eversweet: A Bad Bet on Synthetic Biology
Cargill recently introduced the new zero-calorie sweetener Eversweet, produced by adding a few genes from the Stevia plant -a nutural sweetener- to a specially crafted baker’s yeast. The ETC Group warns that this type of application of synthetic biology threatens the livelihoods of small-cscal Stevia growers in Kenya (and other pathers of the world). In its annual survey of leading global risks, the World Economic Forum noted that, “the invention of cheap, synthetic alternatives to high-value agricultural exports … could suddenly destabilize vulnerable economies by removing a source of income on which farmers rely.”
Meanwhile, the European Stevia Association (EUSTAS), has expressed concern that EverSweet will undermine stevia’s reputation as safe and natural.
Source: A Bad Bet on Synthetic Bioloy, Project Syndicate, 23 October 2015, https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/stevia-synthetic-biology-da.... Also published in The Bangkok Post of October 28.
Photo by Ethel Aardvark, CC BY 3.0