GMO (genetically modified) foods get a lot of bad rap in today’s society. Despite a breadth of scientific knowledge debunking claims to the contrary, many feel that they are unsafe and unhealthy.
To be fair, GMO foods also get their reputation from companies like Monsanto that have used them for unethical reasons. However, there’s plenty of good that GMO foods can bring to the world, and a new chocolate brand is hoping to educate consumers about that side of the story.
Photo courtesy of Ethos Chocolate
Called Ethos Chocolate, this brand was developed by pro-GMO farmer coalition A Fresh Look to help showcase how GMO foods have already been a benefit to society. Their four introductory brands each involve a key crop whose future has been altered or saved through genetic engineering.
Examples include “The Survivor,” which features papaya, a fruit that was all but wiped out in Hawaii after a ring spot virus spread across the archipelago. Genetic engineering variants resistant to the virus was key in restoring the crop back to sustainable levels.
There’s also “The Hero,” which utilizes oranges, a crop facing a similar issue today from citrus greening disease. Scientists are working hard to develop an orange that inherently prevents citrus greening from ever taking hold. Apples, which have undergone both natural and genetic modification to prevent browning, also take a major role in “The Trendsetter” bar that Ethos is selling.
One of the big reasons why this product line was developed was because of the issues surrounding chocolate itself. Studies have predicted that climate change and pests could significantly reduce the available land for cacao trees (the source of chocolate) within the next few decades. While not an actual extinction threat, it does put stress on a burgeoning demand for chocolate around the world, and scientists are working on using CRISPR (a gene-editing technique) to help combat against potential viral and fungal diseases as well as climate change.
It’s definitely going to be difficult for Ethos to get started as a brand, since most consumers are against anything to do with GMO Foods. To help, the chocolatiers are giving out their first limited batch of product for free as a Valentine’s Day gift. If you fill out a form on the Ethos website by February 10th (or before supplies run out), a special box of the chocolates will be sent to whoever you want (including yourself) this Valentine’s Day.