The tomato has been a symbol for genetically modified food for many years. In 1994, genetically modified tomatoes hit the market in the US as the first commercially available genetically modified crop. GM tomatoes have since disappeared.
This transgenic tomato (FlavrSavr) had a “deactivated” gene (Antisense approach). This meant that the tomato plant was no longer able to produce polygalacturonase, an enzyme involved in fruit softening. The premise was that tomatoes could be left to ripen on the vine and still have a long shelf life, thus allowing them to develop their full flavor. Normally, tomatoes are picked well before they are ripe and are then ripened artificially.
Tomatoes were the first genetically modified foods to come on the market. Today, they are no longer cultivated.
Puree made from GM tomatoes was once a success in Great Britain. The EU Member States, however, could not agree on approval. Continue reading