Biotech Improving the Labor Day Spread

Even though it may feel like March 187th, believe it or not, this is Labor Day weekend. And while large gatherings may still be on hold, I will still be taking advantage of the holiday to dig into summertime food classics one last time before the pumpkin spice craze really takes hold. 

Interestingly, we have biotech to thank for many of the items in your typical Labor Day spread. So, before we head out for the beach (or the towel laid out in the backyard) to commemorate what may be the weirdest Labor Day ever, let us look at some of these popular foods:


Courtesy Business Insider

With all the diverse diets that are out there today—especially those that limit or eliminate meat consumption—products like the Impossible Burger have gained widespread popularity. And it is easy to see why. Vegans can now enjoy the American tradition without violating their strict diet.

In fact, the ingredient that makes this burger taste like the real thing is genetically engineered heme—short for hemoglobin. Heme is what gives this burger its red-meat taste and juiciness.

The company touts the use of biotechnology on their website:

“We’ve always embraced the responsible, constructive use of genetic engineering to solve critical environmental, health, safety and food security problems, and have long advocated for responsible use of this technology in the food system.”

While I will be enjoying a nice ground beef burger (preferably with 20 percent fat), I hope my vegan friends can enjoy the realness of the Impossible Burger, made possible through biotechnology.


Nothing pairs better with Labor Day to me than sweet corn. And this time of year, there is plenty to be had. Whether you are a self-shucker or you prefer your corn pre-shuck, you can get it any way you want for the next few weeks. (Even corn ice cream!)

And corn is one of the most well-known veggies that has benefited from biotechnology. Advances in genetic modification have improved several corn varieties so they tolerate warmer weather, use water more efficiently, and are able to withstand damaging insects and diseases.

Also, biotech corn is even being used to create sustainable fuels, which helps limit the pollution created from all those trips to the grocery store, and bioplastics that make food packaging more Earth-friendly.


There is nothing like warm apple pie with a scoop of cold vanilla ice cream. And with fall quickly approaching, apple pie on Labor Day is like the warm-up for the parade of pies that will come with the impending holiday season. Courtesy Artic Apples

But you need quite a few apples to make apple pie and if your baking plans get delayed, there is no guarantee that those apples will still be ripe instead of rotten.

Introduce the Arctic Apple.

Using genetic modification, Okanagan Specialty Fruits has developed an apple that doesn’t bruise or turn brown when sliced, reducing food waste.  

The company even makes pre-sliced apples, which are great for the kids’ lunchbox when they must go back to school following the long weekend…even if school is in the kitchen.

And as technologies like gene editing advance, researchers are exploring methods to improve the tomatoonion, and another summer favorite: peaches.

From protein to veggies and fruit, we certainly have the global biotech ecosystem to thank for some of our favorite foods this Labor Day.

To learn more about advances in gene editing to benefit our food visit

And to learn more about the global biotech ecosystem, visit

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