Twenty Years Ago Today Biotech Food was Commercially Launched

Today is the 20th anniversary of the first sales of the world’s first genetically engineered (GE), commercially available, whole food: the Flavr Savr™ tomato. High-end Flavr Savrs, dubbed “MacGregor’s®” tomatoes, available that day at the State Market IGA in Davis, California, were displayed in a beautiful cart with a canvas awning. The tomatoes carried MacGregor’s stickers, complete with farmer, watering can, and “GROWN FROM GENETICALLY MODIFIED SEEDS” spelled out in all caps. Here’s a photo of one:

MacGregor's stickerBright-red, tomato-shaped brochures proclaiming “Summertime Taste…Year-Round!™ on their covers accompanied the real fruit.

Tomato brochure Summertime Taste...Year-Round!In addition to explaining that MacGregor’s Tomatoes soften more slowly

Tomato brochure Extra Days On The Vineand suggesting that MacGregor’s tomatoes not be stored in the refrigerator, the point-of-purchase information briefly explained the genetic engineering process, including the use of the kanamycin-resistance selectable marker gene, to produce Flavr Savr seeds.

Tomato brochure kanamycin resistanceConsumers were also invited to call 1-800-34TOMATO if they wanted still more information.

Tomato brochure 1-800-34TOMATOWouldn’t it be great if developers of GE foods in the U.S. were as transparent about their products today as Calgene, Inc. (Calgene Fresh, Inc.) was twenty years ago?

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