Friday, 24 October 2014 / TRUTH-OUT.ORG

Squeezing More Profits from Crummy Tomatoes

Friday, 20 September 2013 09:36 By Jim Hightower, OtherWords | Op-Ed

“I’m 98 percent confident we can make a tomato that tastes substantially better,” Professor Harry Klee recently exulted to The New York Times.

Hmmm. Excuse me, professor, but “substantially better” than what? One of Momma Nature’s own heirloom varieties perhaps? No, no — Klee knows that tomato-tampering flavorologists like him can’t get near that quality.

Rather, he’s merely out to endow the industrial, massed-produced fruits of agribusiness with enough tomato-y taste to pass as a minimally acceptable version of the real thing.

How? By artificially injecting them with some flavor genes from actual tomatoes. Why? So the corporate powers can retake market share and profits they’ve been losing to small producers of the natural product.

That mission raises another question: “Ideal” for whom? It’ll still be a bland, mass-produced tomato doused with pesticides, machine harvested while green, and shipped across country. It’s only ideal for the maximization of corporate profits. Where did this guy come from? Monsanto, where he was employed for 11 years to help bring dangerously-untested-and-unlabeled bioengineered food to market. Now at the University of Florida’s Institute for Plant Innovation, backed by Monsanto, Klee leads the effort to innovate what’s called “a chemical recipe for the ideal tomato.”

And beware, for the tomato isn’t the only target of this academic-industrial complex. Klee & Company are also re-doing the blueberry to be, as the Times called it, “crispy, almost apple-like.” Wow, I’ll bet that next they’ll manufacture apples to be almost blueberry-like.

Why are the public’s scarce research dollars being frittered away on these absurd corporate projects?

Klee claims that it’s all about “bringing back flavor.” But professor, flavor never left. Go to a farmers market and taste for yourself.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Jim Hightower

National radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of the book, Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow, Jim Hightower has spent three decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be - consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks.


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Squeezing More Profits from Crummy Tomatoes

Friday, 20 September 2013 09:36 By Jim Hightower, OtherWords | Op-Ed

“I’m 98 percent confident we can make a tomato that tastes substantially better,” Professor Harry Klee recently exulted to The New York Times.

Hmmm. Excuse me, professor, but “substantially better” than what? One of Momma Nature’s own heirloom varieties perhaps? No, no — Klee knows that tomato-tampering flavorologists like him can’t get near that quality.

Rather, he’s merely out to endow the industrial, massed-produced fruits of agribusiness with enough tomato-y taste to pass as a minimally acceptable version of the real thing.

How? By artificially injecting them with some flavor genes from actual tomatoes. Why? So the corporate powers can retake market share and profits they’ve been losing to small producers of the natural product.

That mission raises another question: “Ideal” for whom? It’ll still be a bland, mass-produced tomato doused with pesticides, machine harvested while green, and shipped across country. It’s only ideal for the maximization of corporate profits. Where did this guy come from? Monsanto, where he was employed for 11 years to help bring dangerously-untested-and-unlabeled bioengineered food to market. Now at the University of Florida’s Institute for Plant Innovation, backed by Monsanto, Klee leads the effort to innovate what’s called “a chemical recipe for the ideal tomato.”

And beware, for the tomato isn’t the only target of this academic-industrial complex. Klee & Company are also re-doing the blueberry to be, as the Times called it, “crispy, almost apple-like.” Wow, I’ll bet that next they’ll manufacture apples to be almost blueberry-like.

Why are the public’s scarce research dollars being frittered away on these absurd corporate projects?

Klee claims that it’s all about “bringing back flavor.” But professor, flavor never left. Go to a farmers market and taste for yourself.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Jim Hightower

National radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of the book, Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow, Jim Hightower has spent three decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be - consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks.


Hide Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus