Does it disturb anyone else that only after it is going to be made available to the general public will they be doing trial studies on the validity of it’s claims? Not to mention the safety issues of the genetic mutation that has been triggered in these tomatoes?
One wonders why these tests were not done before exposing the general public to their GMO creation?
In Leamington the acclaimed tomato capital of Canada, New Energy Farms planted and grew the vegetable for plant biologist Cathie Martin. She is a professor at the John Innes Centre in Norwich, UK. “It looks very similar to normal tomato crops. You really wouldn’t know any difference, apart from the color of the fruit,” New Energy Farms CEO Paul Carver said.
The unusual looking tomatoes were grown in a controlled environment in a greenhouse, then hand selected. The juice was squeezed out of the vegetables while the seeds and plants were lit on fire as a preventative measure to shield against cross-contamination.
Come early February, the estimated 528 gallons of purple tomato juice will be sent off to British heart patients. Besides anthocyanins being cancer-fighting, the special element in the tomatoes also battles cardiovascular disease.
“When mice [with cancer] were fed a diet supplemented with purple tomatoes, they lived 30 percent longer than those with a diet supplemented with red tomatoes,” Martin said. She revealed that the purple tomatoes also have anti-inflammatory properties.
Research shows “complementary health advantages for people diagnosed with major chronic disease, particularly cancer. We’re not saying this is a standalone therapy,” she said.
Since European rules for genetically modified foods are much stricter, it was easier to grow the tomatoes in Canada. “Canada was an unbelievably good choice because you have a very enlightened view of regulatory approval,” Martin said, “It was easier to do this in Canada than elsewhere.”
Voice of Russia, Cbc.ca
Genetically-modified purple tomatoes heading for shops
The prospect of genetically modified purple tomatoes reaching the shelves has come a step closer.
Their dark pigment is intended to give tomatoes the same potential health benefits as fruit such as blueberries.
Developed in Britain, large-scale production is now under way in Canada with the first 1,200 litres of purple tomato juice ready for shipping.
The pigment, known as anthocyanin, is an antioxidant which studies on animals show could help fight cancer.
Scientists say the new tomatoes could improve the nutritional value of everything from ketchup to pizza topping.
The tomatoes were developed at the John Innes Centre in Norwich where Prof Cathie Martin hopes the first delivery of large quantities of juice will allow researchers to investigate its potential.
“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,” she said.
I hope this will serve as a vanguard product where people can have access to something that is GM but has benefits for them”
Prof Cathie Martin John Innes Centre in Norwich
The tomatoes are part of a new generation of GM plants designed to appeal to consumers – the first types were aimed specifically at farmers as new tools in agriculture.
The purple pigment is the result of the transfer of a gene from a snapdragon plant – the modification triggers a process within the tomato plant allowing the anthocyanin to develop.
Although the invention is British, Prof Martin says European Union restrictions on GM encouraged her to look abroad to develop the technology.
Canadian regulations are seen as more supportive of GM and that led to a deal with an Ontario company, New Energy Farms, which is now producing enough purple tomatoes in a 465 square metre (5,000sq ft) greenhouse to make 2,000 litres (440 gallons) of juice.
According to Prof Martin, the Canadian system is “very enlightened”.
“They look at the trait not the technology and that should be a way we start changing our thinking – asking if what you’re doing is safe and beneficial, not ‘Is it GM and therefore we’re going to reject it completely’.
“It is frustrating that we’ve had to go to Canada to do a lot of the growing and the processing and I hope this will serve as a vanguard product where people can have access to something that is GM but has benefits for them.”
The first 1,200 litres are due to be shipped to Norwich shortly – and because all the seeds will have been removed, there is no genetic material to risk any contamination.