Purple GM tomatoes one step closer to UK shelves


Lewis Smith
Saturday 25 January 2014 00:59 GMT
2008 picture of purple tomatoes at the John Innes Centre in Norwich
2008 picture of purple tomatoes at the John Innes Centre in Norwich (John Innes Centre via Getty Images)

A shipment of genetically modified tomato juice designed to boost health benefits is on its way to the UK for testing.

The juice was created from GM tomatoes, with a distinctive purple colour, produced in Canada after being initially developed at the John Innes Centre in Norwich.

Researchers hope that enhanced levels of the antioxidant anthocyanin contained in the tomatoes will improve the nutritional values of a range of foods including pizzas and ketchup. Anthocyanin has been shown to help fight cancer in animals.

Prof Cathie Martin, of the John Innes Centre, told the BBC: "With these purple tomatoes you can get the same compounds that are present in blueberries and cranberries that give them their health benefits - but you can apply them to foods that people actually eat in significant amounts and are reasonably affordable.”

The first consignment of 1,200 litres of juice is expected to reach Norwich shortly and will be tested for its effects on human health.

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