gmoA Switzerland based company called Evolva has developed a synthetic vanilla that is set to be released in 2014. The vanilla is created using a process of genetic engineering called synthetic biology. Synthetic biology, according to a 2005 European Commission paper is “…the engineering of biology… the synthesis of complex, biologically based (or inspired) systems which display functions that do not exist in nature.” Unlike the older science of splicing genes from different species together, synthetic biology is seeking to create whole new organisms that do not exist on earth. Evolva’s synthetic vanilla is created by inserting computer coded DNA into yeast. This new method of genetic engineering is called “natural” by Evolva. Environmental organizations like Friends of the Earth have recognized the potential danger posed by synthetic biology. In its Synthetic Biology Vanillin fact sheet, FoE points out the distinct lack of oversight regarding the health impact of ingesting these engineered ingredients. The organization has launched a campaign called No Synbio Vanilla to tell ice cream makers Haagen Dazs, Dreyers, Baskin Robbins and others not to use synthetic biology vanilla. MORE