Select Committee on European Communities Minutes of Evidence


APPENDIX 3

Press release by The University of Nottingham, 27 May 1998

TOMATO PUREE FROM GENETICALLY MODIFIED FRUIT BRINGS FIRST ROYALTY PAYMENT

FOR THE UNIVERSITY OF NOTTINGHAM

  The University of Nottingham has received its first royalty payment for landmark research on genetically modified processed tomatoes.

  The tomatoes, grown in California, were used to produce tomato puree—the first genetically modified food ever produced in Europe. The puree has been on sale for two years at branches of J Sainsbury and Safeway, in cans clearly labelled as genetically modified food—and consistently outsells the non-transformed variety.

  The puree is the first product to be generated from pioneering work on ripening genes carried out at Nottingham over the past 25 years by Professor Don Grierson and his research team, in partnership with Zeneca Plant Sciences. As a result of Professor Grierson's work the modified tomato ripens normally but softens more slowly. The tomato offers benefits throughout the supply chain; the farmer and the processor can get better quality fruit to the factory while the consumer is offered improved quality and cost savings. The product was developed by Zeneca and the seed company Seminis.

  Although the first royalty payment involves only some thousands of pounds, the research project overall has generated more than £1 million in funding for the University of Nottingham. Professor Grierson, who is based at the University's Sutton Bonington Campus, said the first royalty payment demonstrated that years of research which had received increasing scientific acclaim had also proved commercially beneficial. "The work produced the first ripening gene to be discovered and involved the first use of the `gene silencing' technique to improve the properties of any food crop.



 
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