Vegetable medley or meddled-with vegetables?
November 16, 1996
Web posted at: 11:58 p.m. EST (0458 GMT)
From Correspondent Jackie Shymanski
LONDON (CNN) -- Splicing and dicing of vegetables and fruits
used to take place only in the kitchen. These days, it takes
place in science laboratories too.
Agricultural genetic engineering has taken root.
Mother nature used to determine what garden produce was in
season. Now science is helping to put strawberries and other
produce up for sale year round.
"We might be able to suggest genetic improvements which we
can use in new technology to put into the field and meet the
needs for food production," said professor Ben Mislin, a
Genetically altered soybeans top a list of super cereals
about to hit the market in Europe by mid-November.
The company Monsanto has introduced the round-up ready
soybean. A gene splice makes the bean resistant to the
company's popular pesticide. That protects the environment
but doesn't change the bean, according to Monsanto.
"This technology has produced a roundup-ready soybean which,
for the consumer, is as safe as, as nutritious as the
soybean they purchase in their products today," said Ivonne
Walker, a Monsanto Spokeswoman.
However, some consumer groups aren't happy with the new
The new bean arrives from American farms mixed in with
unaltered produce. There will be no separation, and no
labeling so buyers will not be able to know what they are
"I think it's an absolute bottom line fundamental principle
that consumers have the right to choose whether or not they
eat genetically engineered food," said Julie Sheppard of the
Soybeans can be found in up to 60 percent of processed foods.
Growers say its impossible to feasibly identify all modified
beans. Detractors say profit is being protected, not the
The only plant modification in one London restaurant will be
the old fashioned variety.
"I might try one out of pure curiosity to see if the taste is
different, but I certainly wouldn't buy any to use here,"
said a chef.
Spliced soybeans won't make it onto some menus, but the beans
will hit less discerning European dinner tables.
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