We ve written about GM apples that resist browning and GM potatoes with decreased production of acrylamide and increased resistance to disease. And now, a new wave of GM foods is on the way this time designed to appeal to consumers with added health benefits. Companies developing these new products hope that they will be able to win over skeptical or health-conscious consumers.
Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc., the Canadian firm that developed the non-browning GM apple, is now working on the development of genetically-engineered peaches, cherries, and pears meant to resist disease and improve quality. Also, Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences are separately developing modified vegetable oils with fewer saturated fats and more Omega-3 fatty acids.
Further, a British company called John Innes Centre has developed genetically-modified purple tomatoes that contain high levels of anthocyanin, which supposedly has benefits for cardiovascular health and is an antioxidant. GM pink pineapples, developed by Fresh Del Monte Produce, Inc., also have supposed cancer-fighting benefits in the form of lycopene. The FDA would have to approve any health claims used to sell the products.
GMOs have been the subject of thousands of studies and deemed just as safe, if not safer, than conventional foods. Still, many consumers are needlessly worried about GM foods, although most of them don t really know much about GM technology at all.
I think once people see more of the benefits they will become more accepting of the technology, says Dr. Michael Firko, PhD, who is the Deputy Administrator for Biotechnology Regulatory Services of the United States Department of Agriculture.
ACSH s Dr. Ruth Kava added this comment: We here at ACSH are happy to see anything that would tend to enhance consumer acceptance of GMO products, knowing (as we do) that they are safe and that the superstitious fear of biotech is being fomented by the organic food lobby. However, that does not mean that we buy into the antioxidants fight cancer or acrylamide is a health concern marketing point. We don t.