When words like life, natural, transgenic and nano have wobbly definitions, how do standards and regulations navigate through?
When I was reading about bacteriophage yesterday, I came across an antimicrobial called Agriphage, a "natural" proprietary bacteriophage product from biotech company Omnilytics. It has been approved for use by OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute). Listex, another bacteriophage by EPI Food safety has been approved by the Dutch organic certifier SKAL (see previous link). Bacteriophage are nanomaterials being 20- 200 nano in scale. If genome engineering takes place on this nanoscale is it technically/legally called Genetic engineering/ GMO or Nanotechnology? see
Definitions of GMO involve the insertion, addition or change of genetic material with an organism. Viruses are not considered organisms, although there is controversy. "A virus is an infectious acellular entity composed of compatible genomic components derived from a pool of genetic elements". and see Wiki. So what is it - nanomaterial or life? Would an engineered phage meet the FDA's definition of natural as "ingredients extracted directly from plants or animal products as opposed to being produced synthetically." A simple google search of phage engineering will give you an idea of the scope and scale of this manipulation.
Organic Certification is for many, a reliable source of food free of GMO.
Perhaps our safest bet, to avoid modified virus, is to follow the lead of the The Soil Association, who was last year the first Organic Certification Body to prohibit nanotechnolgy in the organic program. See: Organic Pioneer Says No to Nano.