By Dr. Ray Seidler
Our Family Farms Advisory Board Member
In September, the United Sates Department of Agriculture approved the commercial distribution of a genetically modified (gm) purple tomato and its seeds. This is an entirely unnecessary product motivated by financial gain and patent protection since numerous varieties of a purple tomato produced through conventional genetic breeding are already available.
The purple color is a result of hyped overproduction of a class of beneficial chemicals called anthocyanins, a member of the polyphenol compounds. These anti-inflammatory compounds, when used at appropriate levels, provide human health benefits. However, there is a potential classical issue of too much of a good thing, may not be good. Research with animals has shown that over consumption of anthocyanins may damage kidneys, cause tumors, impede iron uptake, or unbalance thyroid hormones.
The anthocyanin content from the GE purple tomato averages about 500mg/100gm of fresh fruit or some 40-times more than the average daily consumption of anthocyanins in the U.S. The current lack of regulation in the United States of this class of anthocyanins may contribute to overhyped claims, potentially resulting in misuse and overconsumption of anthocyanins at potentially harmful levels by consumers.
For more details, please see the full article by Dr. Ray Seidler.