Norfolk Healthy Produce GMO Purple Tomato hits the market
Synthetic Biology

GMO with clear benefits

This GMO product from Norfolk Healthy Produce may succeed where others have failed. Why? It’s a GMO with clear benefits to consumers in health promoting antioxidant anthocyanins and younger generations are more accepting of technology being used to make food.

Are GMO products safe?

People often confuse the safety of GMO products with the glyphosate problem. The GMO crops themselves are completely safe, humans can’t incorporate foreign DNA from the food they eat into their bodies. As the FDA says “In other words, cows do not become the grass they eat and chickens don’t become the corn they eat”. It’s the glyphosate contamination and environmental issue that are the problem, not the food itself. In fact the biggest GMO feed trial is the billions of animals we’ve been feeding GMO derived feeds every year. If there were major problems with the GMO products themselves we would undoubtedly have found out by now!

Norfolk’s path to market underscores one of the major problems with commercialising new technologies and products; government regulation. With the current rate of change government food safety bodies throughout the world are woefully under-resourced for such rapid rates of change. As Norfolk President and CEO Nathan Pumplin says, they’re “disappointed that our business is being held back by this process; we could be selling tomatoes right now. The USDA process—which they claim should take six months—took us one year, and the FDA [process] has been ongoing now for over three years.”

Feeding the global population

If we’re to feed the growing global population and middle classes, then advanced food regulation countries like the US and Australia need to lead the way in reviewing and approving new foods. That way developing countries can more easily grant their own approvals.

We’re going to need every technology, traditional and new, if we’re going to feed the world sustainably, healthily and equitably as we race toward 10 billion by 2050.

Congratulations to Nathan Pumplin and the team and I wish them all the best in commercialising their tomato.

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