Like the look of the purple tomatoes shown in the image above? When they are cut in half they reveal something that resembles a tomato but is various shades of bright purple. Whether or not you think they look appetising they could be coming to a shop near you and for many people the bad news is that they are GMO, genetically modified.
Touted as having as many health benefits as blueberries the purple tomatoes will reportedly be cheaper.
Transferring a gene from a snapdragon plant to the tomato triggers a process within the tomato plant which allows anthocyanin to develop. This results in the purple colour and, according to proponents of GM, adds a range of health benefits. Tests on animals show anthocyanin could help fight cancer. Any negatives are not revealed.
Prof Cathie Martin who has led the research at the John Innes Centre in Norwich said "With these purple tomatoes you can get the same compounds that are present in blueberries and cranberries that give them their health benefits - but you can apply them to foods that people actually eat in significant amounts and are reasonably affordable."
Still at the research stage purple tomatoes used in products such as ketchup and as pizza toppings are only a whisper away.
What this writer found odd is that Canada, a country which banned the sale of British foods such as marmite, penguin biscuits and ovaltine due to added vitamins is involved in purple tomatoes.
That news was a couple of years ago meaning purple tomoatoes may already be used in some products you buy.
Canadian authorities look at GM foods in a more favourable way than manufacturers in the EU and so production is underway in that country. Purple tomatoes grown at the UK centre are shipped to Canada for processing.
If the research is successful, and the product goes on sale, or is included in a range of foodstuffs, will the Canadian food agency add them to their list of approved foods, or is it a case of, we don't mind making money out of this latest research but will not approve the end-result?
European restrictions on GM foods are tight so Professor Martin looked elsewhere and found Canada a willing partner. This news also throws the UKs GM stance into question post BRexit.
Owen Paterson, Britain's controversial former environment secretary claims that GM crops are probably safer than conventional plants. In 2013 BBC News reported "Owen Paterson has signed an open letter calling for the immediate rollout of "Golden Rice" - rice genetically modified to contain vitamin A - which it claimed could save the lives of 670,000 people a year. Mr Paterson claims groups opposing the GM crops are "wicked."
Helen Wallace from Gene Watch responded by claiming that there are better, more cost-effective ways to solve the problem of vitamin A deficiency.
Opinion: As the GM or GMO food debate continues there is money to be made out of genetically modified crops and big business stands to be the biggest winner.
What is weird is that the research in this case was apparently funded by the EU a body that is reportedly opposed to GM crops.
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