How synthetic biology will — and maybe won’t — change the future of food

More than a century ago, dairy farmers sounded the alarm on margarine, insisting that it wasn’t really butter, and it therefore needed to be classified differently. Today, the Food and Drug Administration is hosting a public meeting on lab-grown meat, including the question of whether it should be called “meat.”

Lab-grown meat is getting all the attention, but it’s far from the only product that will run into these labeling questions. Many researchers in the field of synthetic biology are using technology to create flavors and fragrances that wouldn’t occur naturally, according to Christina Agapakis, a biologist who is the creative director at Ginkgo Bioworks. Gingko, a Boston-based synthetic biology company, doesn’t engineer lab-grown…

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