In general, herbs and spices are least cultivated within the food system, and therefore their natural qualities are maintained. For this reason I believe herbs and spices are an untapped resource in healthy diets, as the natural pharmacy for human and environmental health and sustaining biodiversity.

That is why I am skeptical about the industry efforts for bioengineering herbs and spices. Under the title “What’s that smell? Exotic scents made from Reengineered Yeast”, the New York Times (October 20, 2013) published an article on this and specifically discussed the efforts of ‘Evolva’to produce saffron-like yeast. There maybe nothing wrong with yeast, yeast is everywhere, and in fact, many of our foods are based on yeast fermentation (yeasts – classified in the kingdom of Fungi). BUT, in the (near) future I would like to have my diet based on more than genetically modified wheat, rice, corn and chemically flavored yeast. I also prefer to retain some independence from the chemical industry when I ‘procure’ , prepare, and enjoy my food.

Initially, these bioengineering efforts seem harmless, and are argued to be part of sustainable program of future food production. Depending on how you define sustainable, it is difficult to oversee future consequences of increasing bio-engineered food and fuel to sustain a world population in good health, and requires more research: TO BE CONTINUED…