business news in context, analysis with attitude

The Financial Times reports that "two thousand litres of purple tomato juice, pressed from genetically modified fruit grown in Canada, are heading for Britain to be tested for their health-promoting properties. The tomatoes, developed by UK scientists at the John Innes Centre and Sainsbury Laboratory near Norwich, are the latest in a new generation of plants designed to take GM into consumer applications.

"Their promoters hope that these will be more acceptable to environmental campaigners than the herbicide resistant and insecticidal crops that have dominated the GM market so far."

The story notes that "the purple fruit are designed to be superior to conventional tomatoes in two ways. First their high levels of purple anthocyanin pigments, normally found in blueberries and blackberries, provide health benefits. Tests on mice showed that these have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects, and a clinical trial will start soon with UK heart patients drinking the Canadian-grown juice, which is likely to arrive within the next two weeks.

"Second, the purple tomatoes have a longer shelf life, because the anthocyanins slow down the formation of rot and mould. This will enable growers to keep the fruit on the vine for longer, allowing a better flavour to develop."
KC's View:
To me, the important thing about this development is the fact that in the UK, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has a rule saying that "if a food contains or consists of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), or contains ingredients produced from GMOs, this must be indicated on the label."

I have no problem with the juice. I might even buy it and drink it. (The idea of it having anti-cancer properties seems like a compelling argument.) But since I also support transparency and consumer choice, it ought to be labeled as GM.