Well, initially one might hear the term ‘Genetically Modified’ and turn their noses up straight away. The term ‘GM’ or ‘Genetically Modified’ is a label that has faced a lot of scrutiny in the past (not that the ‘past’ of GM foods goes back that far) because of its apparent unnatural nature. However, GM may bring some extra clout to the regular food we consume, and a ripe new example of this is the already nutrient dense tomato. Regular tomatoes (as if they weren’t good enough already) have had a pigment called anthocyanin added to them, an antioxidant that may have cancer preventing properties. Tomatoes contain relatively large amounts of lycopene, another well known anti-cancer component, so the addition of anthocyanin will make tomatoes one of the most anti-cancer foods out there!
As I write this post, Canada are sending close to 1,200 litres of purple tomato juice to the UK for sale. The purple tomato was developed in the UK at the John Innes Centre in Norwich, and head researcher Prof Cathie Martin explains that the purple tomato variety will contain the same compounds as blueberries and cranberries, giving them the same health properties too!
The actual benefit in humans is probable although yet to be proven in humans, meaning the 1,200 litres to be sent over will be tested in Norwich in order to justify its mass production here in the UK.
BBC News Science and Environment, (2014). Genetically-modified purple tomatoes heading for shops. Retrieved 27th January, 2014, from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-25885756