Gardeners already grow conventional purple tomatoes. The purple tomato is antioxidant rich with anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are found in many fruits and vegetables including raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, plums, black grapes, red onions and red cabbage. There are naturally bred purple tomato varieties available. One of which is the Indigo Rose variety (conventionally) developed by Oregon State University.
A small British company is planning to apply for U.S. permission to produce and sell a new genetically modified variety that will have high levels of anthocyanins. News source
Anthocyanins studies show that this compound can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. In one study using purple, high-anthocyanin tomatoes in the diet of cancer-prone mice they extended the life-span by 30%. This has resulted in world-wide recognition that anthocyanins are important to health. Reference Source.
If purple tomatoes full of anthocyanins can be bred naturally why do we need a GM version? Do these companies want to make America healthier? Do they want to find ways to patent nature for a profit? We will leave you with this information and you decide for yourself.
The first genetically engineered crop to market in 1994 was a tomato, it was the Flavr Savr tomato to be exact. The company’s researchers inhibited a gene that produces a protein that makes a tomato get squishy. The company also voluntarily labelled the tomatoes as GM. The company that created this tomato was bought out by much larger Monsanto, a leading producer of genetically engineered seed. Check out this article in the New York Times. Demand for this product was high and remained high, but the product was never profitable because of high production and distribution costs. Currently no GMO tomatoes are sold in grocery stores in North America.