Who spliced their genes in my tomatoes?

Via Jeffrey Woodruff
on Apr 25, 2011
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Who spliced their genes in my tomatoes?

With spring planting around the corner, I have been compiling my seed and seedling list. I am increasing the pepper plants in my garden; planting Bulgarian carrot chillies, jalapeños, habaneras, Jimmy Nardello and pablano peppers. I may try to grow burdock root as the new entrant to this years plantings, along with over a dozen herbs and four varieties of basil.

Sungold tomatoes – highly recommended
I also combed through a few seed catalogs and browsed local plant sale lists to broaden my tomato selection.  Last year my star tomato performer in my garden was the Sungold tomato.  The Sungold has a short gestation period (57 days) and it is the sweetest of cherry tomatoes, ripening to a golden orange. This year I will plant my Sungold seedlings further from my front door, as the ripening tomato was often picked by friends and their kids – leaving me with a smaller bounty. Barring the occasional picking by my friends four year old daughter, the Sungold tomato plant yields close to 1,000 tomatoes (from a single plant) and on most days I could harvest a dozen to mix with dinner salads and the summer classic insalata caprese.

Gene engineering  in your tomato salad and the first aisle of the supermarket
Given my fortune last year with the Sungold heirloom, I thought I would look for a new variety to add to my garden. I tried Kumato’s at a local restaurant and then magically found them at Whole Foods, but not Vitamin Cottage (whose produce aisle only contains organic fruits and vegetables). They were not available from my local organic grower, who features over forty true heirloom varieties, so we exchanged a few emails regarding the Kumato.

Kumato engineered to last

It turns out the Kumato is not really a tomato- well nothing like an heirloom variety.  The Kumato is actually patented technology that only some farmers can license and grow. What did he say? Kumoto tomatoes are not an heirloom variety tomato, they are a genetically engineered variation. The patent to the tomato is owned by Swiss biotechnology company Syngenta AG. The tomatoes are engineered for their beautiful color, sugar/fructose content and long shelf life.

In lieu of stricter food labeling laws you may find more hazards in the first aisle of the supermarket
Until researching Syngenta’s tomato engineering, I never thought of tomatoes as a storage crop, requiring longer shelf life.  I thought tomatoes were meant to be picked from the vine by four year old daughters and promptly consumed or sliced for a salad.

I encourage you to read more about Switzerland’s Monsanto, Syngenta AG, and their gene manipulation process to support the Kumato tomato we serve at local restaurants and are found in our supermarkets.

Better yet I will see you Saturday at the Farmers Market for tomatoes that were harvested on Friday by our local growers. Our local farmers nurture their soil and are environmental stewards for our land.  Our local farmers do not take out patents on tomatoes, they feed our community and their families.

From Pangea Organics: Hey GMO’s stop trying to get into my plants
Further reading: Jeffrey Smith, Seeds of Deception
Who put a trademark on my tomato?


About Jeffrey Woodruff

Jeffrey is a competitive cross country skier and marathon runner. He has completed sixteen marathons in six countries. Jeffrey recently received his Master of Architecture at the University of Colorado Denver.


11 Responses to “Who spliced their genes in my tomatoes?”

  1. […] Related, Who Spliced their Genes in my Tomatoes? […]

  2. […] has been patented or is the registered trademark of a food processor or genetic engineering firm- KumatoR The Kumato is the registered trademark of Swiss bio engineering conglomerate Syngenta and sold at […]

  3. […] we grew up learning the vernacular of mental illness and knew full well about its genetic underpinnings, we were slow to recognize its signs in […]

  4. Aly says:

    They claim their tomatoes are not GMO, but are bred using traditional techniques.

  5. angela says:

    i saw the same thing about them not being GMO. Any clarification for this?

  6. Rob says:

    This third party says they are not GM but rather a hybrid. There are other varieties of black tomato.


  7. Bonnie says:

    Jeffrey, while your attempt at sensational journalism is a great read– it is grossly incorrect and (noticeably) written without 15 minutes of research. First, please realize that the terms GMO and organic not only are not interchangeable, but they don't even truly reference the same topic… at all. Your organic grower (who no doubt is a seed-saving, disease spreading delight) not only provided you with false, one-sided, self-indulgent information, but he then proceeded to impel you to tell others…. and then likely charged you double what a fair price may be, b/c he had to spend so much more time, energy and resources to grow organically. Fact: Kumato is a hybrid. Next time you run into your organic grower at the market, ask if he can begin to tell you when they mapped the DNA of the tomato and even gained the ability to produce GMO tomatoes… and then ask about the years of science and technique and trialing that go into such a feat. If he can even form a reasonable answer, I would not only be amazed but I would come there to apologize in person for misinforming you.

  8. T nails says:

    He's right, Kumato's are not GMO. It's a hybrid. Its seed will not produce a tomato like the parent. Even if it was GMO, they taste damn good and I'd still buy them.

  9. Benjamin says:

    Shedding light on commercial interests of biotechnology companies: http://online.wsj.com/article/PR-CO-20131217-9026
    Hybrid cars.
    Hybrid tomatoes.

  10. Erica says:

    Even Syngenta admits they make GM tomatoes. Nice that the company has its defenders on the elephant journal.

    "Zeneca offers the first GM tomato puree to customers. Tomatoes were enhanced to stay ripe in the field longer, resulting in better processing. "

  11. Jenna says:

    More GM tomatoes coming to the super market:

    I wish I lived in the US where I could try them. Europe and the UK are still reluctant to allow gm and hybrid's at Tesco.