Originally published by Science World Report
December 13, 2016
by Minnow Blythe
The Food And Drug Authority (FDA) gives its glowing disapproval to a homebrew kit that advertises that people can make their own glow-in-the-dark beer. However, the creators are fighting back as they partner with a brewery for more luminescent booze.
The ODIN, short for Open Discovery Institute, sells on its website a DIY kit for glow-in-the-dark yeast, which people can use to make glow-in-the-dark beer. While the glowing beer just got started getting a buzz in the media, FDA crashes the party and gives its disapproval to the bioluminescent concoction. Why? Because more than just a glow-in-the-dark beer, the yeast used for the beer is added with a jellyfish gene to give it its glow.
Homebrewers would know that to make beer, yeast is used for fermentation of booze. But by adding a jellyfish gene to the yeast to get that glow, ODIN has offered a genetically engineered product that the FDA thinks is dangerous. In an article in Buzzfeed News, a conversation with the FDA and ODIN's founder, Josiah Zayner, had an FDA staff member saying "that the green fluorescence protein was likely a color additive for food, and it hadn't been recognized as safe to consume."
But as Josiah Zayner pointed out with Buzzfeed News, why was the FDA so worried about one glowing yeast when there are studies that have shown that ordinary beer yeasts have been evolving and mutating on their own for years? ODIN is not the first company to use genetically modify food. A Swiss company Evolva has created a synthetic vanillin (vanilla flavoring), while local biohackers have been genetically engineering yeast to make vegan cheese.
ODIN is fighting back against the FDA's disapproval with more glow-in-the-dark beer. Josiah Zayner hopes to make glow-in-the- dark beers the next crafting sensation. To do that, ODIN is teaming up with a brewery from Tampa, Florida. The Inoculum Ale House wants to make and sell glow-in-the-dark beers with ODIN and is even planning to make genetically engineered beer with citrus flavor or beers added with an alleged cancer-fighting ingredient, squalene. Both ODIN and Inoculum Ale House says they will persevere with glow-in-the-dark beers until they get approval from the FDA.