Tuesday, 8 January 2013

When the Rainbow Runs Rampant

Image Collage by Wo-Built: Strange colours in vegetables: 
brown "Kumato" tomatoes, orange and purple cauliflower;
Image Sources: Kumatoes, Orange cauliflower, Purple cauliflower.

We’ve all been told to eat a "rainbow of fruits and vegetables" as part of a healthy, balanced diet. Mixing and matching produce of all different colours ensures we are getting the right mix of vitamins and minerals. It also adds variety to what could otherwise be a ho-hum lifestyle.

But c’mon now…brown tomatoes? Purple cauliflower? At some point, we have to ask ourselves, have we gone too far?

Well, according to Wikipedia, orange cauliflower is a "natural mutation" which originated in a field in Canada. It apparently has 25 times the vitamin A of regular white cauliflower (makes sense: carrots are extremely high in vitamin A).

Was it truly a "natural" mutation, though? We have put so many chemical pesticides and fertilizers on our fields, its hard to imagine anything mutating naturally these days.

As for purple cauliflower, its colour apparently comes from the presence of the antioxidant anthocyanins, also found in red cabbage and red wine (Source: Anthocyanin). That actually sounds healthy.

The real problem arises with the Kumato. "The Kumato is a trade name given to the variety of tomato developed in Spain called "Olmeca", which went by experimental number SX 387." (Source: Kumato). A variety developed, owned and strictly controlled by Syngenta, "a large global Swiss specialized chemicals company which markets seeds and pesticides," (Source: Syngenta).

The strict control and licensing agreements around this greenish-brown tomato (which, I have it on good authority is quite tasty), smacks of Monsanto’s, draconian business practices of strict seed control.

Maybe it’s not by accident that the naturally occurring, good for you vegetables mentioned herein are beautiful colours of the rainbow, whereas the genetically manipulated "frankenfruit" developed to give people senseless pleasure and a multinational more profits is, well, what it is: mud-brown.

Attila Lendvai
VP of Strategic Development
Wo-Built Inc. - Innovative Design and Build

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