A GUIDE TO . . . SAFEWAY DOUBLE CONCENTRATED
TOMATO PUREE PRODUCED FROM GENETICALLY MODIFIED TOMATOES
In selected stores Safeway is selling tomato
puree produced from genetically modified tomatoes (170g tins only).
This leaflet has been produced to explain more about the product
and the benefits it brings.
Ever since farming began, man has looked for
ways of producing and growing new and improved crops, selecting
those with the best characteristics to produce the wide range
of foods available today. Biotechnology is the term we use to
describe these processes of selection and crossing to improve
our food, and many of the foods we enjoy and take for granted
are, in fact, the result of biotechnology. Products such as beer,
cheese, salami, pickles, yogurt, soy sauce, bread, vinegar, wine
and cider all rely on the processes of traditional biotechnology.
These traditional processes can be slow and
somewhat hit and miss. For example, it can take flower breeders
10 or more years of trial and error to produce flowers with a
particular petal colour. The processes of modern biotechnology
which have been used to produce our new tomato puree go simply
one stage further. Instead of a process of trial and error in
developing new crops, scientists can now precisely identify individual
genes and modify them. The use of genetic modification means that
specific changes can be made to food crops, both quickly and precisely,
without making other undesired changes. This was very difficult
to achieve previously.
Scientists have now identified the gene that
makes tomatoes turn soft during ripening, and they've also found
a way of switching the gene off. This means that the tomatoes
can be left to ripen on the plant until they have their full flavour
and colour, while previously they would have been harvested earlier.
These genetically modified tomatoes with the softening gene "switched
off" remain firm after harvesting, providing greater flexibility
during transport and handling, with reduced wastage. As less tomatoes
go to waste, best use is made of water, a scarce commodity in
California where the tomatoes are grown. In addition as the tomatoes
contain less water, less energy is used during processing. Together,
these improvements mean that Safeway's tomato puree, made from
genetically modified tomatoes, is available at a reduced price
in comparison to puree made from conventional tomatoes.
The law requires that foods produced using genetic
modification are subject to extensive review and approval by a
number of committees of independent experts who ensure that the
strict guidelines and legislation in force are adhered to. The
tomato puree produced from genetically modified tomatoes on sale
in Safeway stores has been reviewed and approved for sale in the
UK, and is perfectly safe to eat.
Free leaflets which explain in more detail the
processes of biotechnology and genetic modification are available
from a number of organisations.
"Food for our FutureFood and Biotechnology"
Food and Drink Federation
6 Catherine Street
London WC2B 5JJ
Tel 0171 836 2460
Fact Sheets from:
Institute of Grocery Distribution
Grange Lane, Letchmore Heath
Watford WD2 8DQ
Tel 01923 857141
"Genetic Modification and Food" reference
no. PB2052, A MAFF "Foodsense" leaflet from:
London SE99 7TP
Tel 0645 556000