Peas join Frankenstein food chain

Peas are likely to join tomatoes as the next genetically-modified vegetable. The process, which has been widely criticised for producing “Frankenstein food”, alters the enzyme structure of the vegetable so that it keeps its fresh taste longer.

Peas are likely to join tomatoes as the next genetically-modified vegetable.

The process, which has been widely criticised for producing “Frankenstein food”, alters the enzyme structure of the vegetable so that it keeps its fresh taste longer.

The John Innes Centre, a biotechnology research institute, has carried out the process on peas, which will result in greater flexibility in the picking and freezing process.

A statement from the Centre says: “It is currently being commercially evaluated by the frozen pea industry in the hope that the quality of material arriving at the factory will be improved.

“This would either enable blanching times to be reduced or the time available for transportation from field to factory to be increased without loss of product quality.”

It is likely to be a few years before the peas become available.

Currently the only genetically-modified vegetable available to the public is the tomato, produced by Zeneca. The product is only sold in puree form, labelled as modified.

Iceland, the chain behind the launch of chocolate-flavoured carrots, has restated its opposition to genetically-modified foods which are not labelled as such.

Chairman Malcolm Walker says: “I have reservations about selling genetically-modified food but in any case we believe it is our responsibility to supply adequate information to ensure consumers can make informed choices.”

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