Originally published February 10 2014
Untested GM purple tomato: Scientists ditch ethics as they seek sick patients for human trials
by Jonathan Benson, staff writer
(NaturalNews) Genetically modified (GM) purple tomatoes are back, and British "Frankenscientists" want you and your family to consume them as a way to avoid developing cancer - seriously. Researchers from the U.K.'s John Innes Centre (JIC) are boldly claiming, based on laughably flimsy evidence, that GM purple tomatoes are some kind of miracle "superfruit" for cancer, even though their potential dangers are completely unknown and non-GM fruit and vegetable alternatives with the same or more nutrients already exist.
GMWatch.org reports that Professor Cathie Martin and her research team from JIC are hoping to very soon begin human trials of the mostly untested GM fruit on heart patients in the U.K. This is after a single small-scale laboratory trial revealed that mice given an extract of the transgenic travesty lived about 40 days longer on average than other mice.
Spliced with genes from the antioxidant-rich snapdragon plant, GM purple tomatoes have been around since 2008, when we previously reported that they were a budding candidate for cancer treatment. At that time, researchers made the inference that humans might be able to avoid developing cancer, or perhaps just live longer if they already have the disease, by consuming patented, corporation-owned GM purple tomatoes straight from the lab.
The idea did not exactly fly the first time around, so now the team that created GM purple tomatoes is trying again, this time with the help of the mainstream media. According to GMWatch.org, outrageous headlines branding GM purple tomatoes as some type of miracle cancer cure are proliferative, despite the fact that nothing has actually been proven with regard to the efficacy of the novel crop.
"These claims are not actually based on benefits seen in humans, but rather from a small-scale study of mice that were given an extract of genetically modified tomatoes," admits NHS Choices, the official website of the U.K.'s National Health Service (NHS). "[T]he small sample sizes used mean the results may have occurred by chance. Also until the tomato is tested in humans we cannot be sure that it will offer the same benefits, or that there will not be any unexpected harms."
Non-GM tomatoes with high levels of anthocyanins already exist One of the major claims being made with regard to the alleged benefits of GM purple tomatoes has to do with their exceptionally (unnaturally) high antioxidant levels, which researchers say makes them the "ultimate healthy superfood." Rich in anthocyanins, which are what gives them their purple color, GM purple tomatoes are purported to help bridge a nutritional gap that can lead to cancer.
But many other fruits and vegetables that occur naturally, including foods like raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, red cabbage and eggplant, to name just a few, already contain high levels of anthocyanins and much more. These foods have not been genetically modified, and yet they are admittedly superior in terms of their overall nutrient content and their proven safety.
And if tomatoes are the issue, researchers in both Brazil and Oregon have already developed non-GM tomato varieties with virtually the exact same antioxidant and nutrient profiles as GM purple tomatoes. In other words, GM purple tomatoes are a completely unnecessary addition to the food supply, and only threaten to further adulterate the food supply with irreversible genetic pollution.
"This is extraordinarily irresponsible and breaches medical ethics," adds GMWatch.org, noting that the next step for GM purple tomatoes is for their juice extract to be administered to heart patients in the U.K. "If Martin and the JIC really are planning to rush ahead with human trials on sick people before doing basic animal toxicology testing, then they are putting patients at risk. Sadly this would be typical of the arrogant behaviour we have come to expect of pushers of this technology."
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