1.Concern over anti- cancer tomato
2.Purple GMO Tomato Inferior to Nature's Offerings

EXTRACT: "This Italian [purple] tomato is completely free of GMOs... It is now in its second harvest and combines the nutritional qualities of several fruits in a single foodsource". (item 1)
1.Concern over anti-cancer tomato
ANSA, October 28 2008

*Leading oncologist sparks debate over potential of GMOs

Rome - A leading oncologist and former minister has provoked anger in Italy after praising the cancer-fighting potential of some genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Addressing an oncology conference in London, Umberto Veronesi cited a genetically engineered purple tomato unveiled last week by British researchers that has been shown to extend the lives of mice susceptible to cancer. ''There is a great deal of resistance to this fantastic projection into the future and I've never understood why,'' said Veronesi. ''GMOs cause no problems; they are exactly the same as other organisms only better, because conscious efforts have been made to improve their qualities.

''It's difficult to predict what will happen but I hope there will be a growing awareness of the benefits such developments offer''. But Veronesi's comments were greeted with concern in Italy, where there has traditionally been widespread hostility to GMOs.

Consumer group Codacons implied the former minister had painted a biased picture of the research ''Veronesi should also be telling us about the side effects of this GM tomato and what cancerous cells it can increase,'' said Codacons President Carlo Rienzi.

''Only after ensuring there is absolutely no danger to human health should a GM food be given to the public''. The president of the Genetic Rights Foundation, a research group, stressed the results of the British study were still at an early stage. ''Caution is called for: announcements are one thing, reality another,'' said Mario Capanna. ''We have been stunned by the credence given to research that has so far only been carried out on mice and which cannot at the moment be repeated on humans''.

Environmental group VAS pointed to the fact that the antioxidant contained in the tomato occurs naturally in fruits such as blackberries and cranberries. ''So one really has to wonder exactly who this tomato will benefit,'' asked VAS's biosecurity representative, Simona Capogna. ''It will undoubtedly help those who hold the patent, those firms that sell it (at an inflated price) and those researchers who use it as a career move or who buy shares in biotech firms''.

Animal rights group LAV said the results were useless as they had been tested on genetically altered mice. ''Mice, like many other mammals, don't develop cancer naturally and are not subject to metastasis,'' explained LAV's vivisection spokesperson, Michela Khan.

''This means that the mice themselves have been genetically altered in order to study the anti-cancer effects of the purple tomato, creating a vortex of aberrations that will make any results exponentially less applicable and useful''. The British study by the John Innes Centre, which was published in monthly Nature Biotechnology, focused on ways to produce a fruit rich in the antioxidant anthocyanin, which has been shown to slow the growth of colon cancer cells.

The researchers introduced anthocyanin-producing genes from snapdragon flowers, which are naturally high in the antioxidant, into the tomato.

The resulting high concentration of anthocyanins turned the tomato skin and flesh a deep purple colour. Tests showed that cancer-susceptible mice who were fed the purple tomatoes lived far longer than those fed normal tomatoes.


News of the British discovery comes not long after an Italian research team announced their own variety of purple tomato, the 'Sun Black'. The tomato was created using traditional cross-fertilization techniques and has a purple skin but traditional red flesh.

Like the British project, the team of researchers from institutes in Pisa, Modena, Reggio Emilia and Tuscia were trying to boost anthocyanin levels in the tomato.

''This Italian tomato is completely free of GMOs and combines all the nutritional elements of tomatoes, black grapes and blackberries, which contain high levels of the antioxidant anthocyanins,''commented Rienzi on Monday. ''It is now in its second harvest and combines the nutritional qualities of several fruits in a single foodsource''.

photo: Italy's sun black tomato 
2.Purple GMO Tomato Inferior to Nature's Offerings
Ethan Huff 
Natural News, October 31 2008

In what appears to be an attempt at softening the public`s attitude toward genetically-modified organisms (GMOs), British scientists have engineered a purple tomato, rich in antioxidants, by splicing certain genes from the snapdragon flower with those of a tomato in order to create a "super tomato" that they say may fight cancer. Cancer-prone mice that lacked the p53 gene, also called the "genome guardian", were fed the altered tomatoes in a scientific study and were shown to live an average of 40 days longer than other p53-deficient mice on a standard diet. But do these findings tell the whole story?

Of the hundreds of worldwide sources that reported these findings, some honestly side-noted that natural tomatoes already have cancer-fighting properties, also mentioning that natural, unmodified fruits such as blackberries, blueberries, currants, and a host of other dark red and dark purple fruits already contain high levels of cancer-fighting anthocyanins. Others were not so forthright, shrouding nature in inferiority as this "franken-fruit" was hoisted to miracle status.

The study is clear and limited in its findings that this new fruit has been shown to lengthen the life-span of a group of cancer-prone mice as opposed to other cancer-prone mice not fed the fruit. The study did not investigate the long-term safety of genetically-modified foods, especially in human beings, and it was not tested alongside natural alternatives. It merely "discovered" what many health-minded people already know that high levels of antioxidants are vital to maintaining health and preventing cancer cells from forming in the body. Yet reports of the study`s findings vary in exotic verbiage, describing the find as everything from a new treatment to help keep cancer "at bay", to celebrating it as a new possible cure for cancer. Still others glowingly endorsed it as a unique new form of cancer prevention, which was not part of the study at all. Why all the hype when we already have a myriad of cancer-fighting fruits and vegetables?

One writer begins her report on this study by declaring,

"Now that we have tried and failed to win the cancer war, it`s time to change our strategy. A new study suggests that eating a new genetically modified tomato may help prevent many types of cancer."

This same writer later contradicts herself by mentioning that natural fruits and vegetables with high levels of anthocyanins also provide protection against cancer (even though the cancer war has already been lost, according to the author), but states that it takes many more servings of these natural fruits and vegetables to achieve the same effective benefits of this genetically-modified tomato. But is this actually true? On what basis is she making this claim?

While it is true that the typical Western diet is deficient in nutritional foods, including antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, the conclusions drawn from this study by both the scientists who performed it and most of the journalists reporting on it are ultimately ill-informed and deceptive, favoring this engineered "fruit" that even the scientists themselves wouldn`t eat over natural fruits and vegetables that are readily available and far superior to anything that man creates in a lab.

The range of varying conclusions about this study all have the same incorrect common denominator, asserting that this new genetically-engineered tomato is a breakthrough in cancer prevention and treatment unlike anything currently available. Even those reports that admit the cancer-fighting properties of natural fruits and vegetables make the claim that this genetically-modified version has superior potency and effectiveness, discounting the comprehensive effectiveness of anything else in its natural, unadulterated form. These assumptions are clearly misguided and dangerous.

Interestingly, no mentions were made in any of the articles about natural, organic purple heirloom tomatoes that already exist, have high levels of anthocyanincs, and are perfectly safe and nutritious for both humans and mice.

Credit is due to the many reporters who did at least admit the cancer-fighting properties of fruits and vegetables in general, considering the FDA doesn`t even believe that food and nutrients play a role in health promotion and disease prevention. Yet all natural mentions were positioned as inferior in order to paint the picture that this new, genetically-modified tomato has unique cancer-fighting properties superior to its natural counterparts, a blatant lie. The presumptive belief that only man-made products are effective in the treatment, prevention, and cure of disease is a misconception that runs deep in conventional, nutritionally-illiterate thinking. In this case, writers around the world are reinforcing this lie while not-so-subtly plugging the "benefits" of GMOs to the public.

Speaking in regards to the supposed "positive effect" of the genetically-engineered purple tomato in the experiment, Cathie Martin, a plant biologist, said in a news release, "It is enormously encouraging to believe that by changing diet, or specific components in the diet, you can improve health in animals and possibly humans." Much like the altered tomato, this is hardly a breakthrough discovery; there are plenty of natural foods that will prevent, treat, and cure cancer without having to undergo dangerous genetic surgery.

In conclusion, there was absolutely no reason to fund and conduct the research, creation, and experimentation of a genetically-modified "super tomato" when we already have the real thing. Genetically-modified foods of any kind are dangerous, untested, and shouldn`t be touched with a ten foot pole. Thanks, but no thanks.