The bill opposing mRNA in food was passed by the Tennessee legislature and awaits the governor’s signature. The bill comes in response to a University of California-Riverside research project looking into whether mRNA which targets pathogens could be implanted into edible plants, which would then be consumed. Local media described the bill as a move targeting “vaccine lettuce,” would classify foods modified to act as vaccines, as pharmaceuticals that essentially require a prescription.
UC Riverside associate professor of Botany and Plant Sciences, Juan Pablo, said “We are testing this approach with spinach and lettuce and have long-term goals of people growing it in their own gardens,” adding “Farmers could also eventually grow entire fields of it.” Another researcher, Nicole Steinmetz, said in the same release that they planned to use nanoparticles or “plant viruses, for gene delivery to plants.” A Kentucky company has already been “infecting growing tobacco plants with a genetically modified coronavirus” to see if it can produce antibodies for a potential vaccine, adding that the company “can already do this right now.” US Representative Thomas Massie sounded the alarm against manipulating food.

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