Would you eat a purple tomato? Well, why wouldn’t you? It’s a pleasing colour and would look very nice in a salad.
Now, if you knew that the purple tomato was genetically modified, would you still want to eat it?
Perhaps I am being naïve, but again I say, why wouldn’t you? After all, varieties of fruits and vegetables have modified over time so that they differ in colour and flavour. Don’t farmers and gardeners cross this with that to get hardier/tastier/better crop of whatever it is? All that has happened here is that the modifications have taken place in a laboratory.
The result has been that the tomato has an increased concentration of anthocyanins, an antioxidant substance that could be useful in lowering the risk of some forms of cancer. Tested on mice that had been bred to be susceptible to cancer, the group that were fed the anthocyanins lived longer.
There are several issues that come to mind here.
- Can we absorb that level of anthocyanins from the diet?
- Mice were tested, could the results be replicated in human beings?
- If we do absorb the anthocyanins, will that alter the delicate balance between other nutrients?
- Is it right to genetically alter crops in a lab?
- Could we extend this in time to increase the benefits to many other foods so that what we eat delivers more of the good stuff?
Like it or not, with billions of people to feed, will foods have be genetically modified in time to help feed us all, and promote health and quality of life?