On 7th September 2022, a Regulatory Status Review (RSR) stated that the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) “has determined that [Norfolk Plant Sciences’] modified tomato is unlikely to pose an increased plant pest risk relative to its comparator.”
Professor Cathie Martin developed the GM tomato. She and Professor Jonathan Jones founded UK’s first GM crop company, NPS (Norfolk Plant Sciences). It is a UK-based spinout company from John Innes Centre and The Sainsbury Laboratory. The company aims to “commercialize their research into plants with enhanced health-giving compounds.”
Purple GM tomatoes were developed by a genetic “on switch” derived from Snapdragon, an edible flower. These Purple GM tomatoes are rich in anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are known to have tons of benefits, including antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
Although these tomatoes are created in the UK, they will be available for purchase in the US markets only from Spring 2023.
What makes these Purple GM tomatoes great?
These purple tomatoes are a rich source of antioxidants compared to their red counterparts. The NPS Purple GM Tomato has the purple pigment present entirely. There are purple tomatoes that already occur; however, the purple pigment is present on the skin of the tomato, with deficient levels of anthocyanins forming in their flesh.
Studies have demonstrated that the presence of antioxidants and anthocyanins can have a wide range of health benefits, such as reduced chances of cancer, better heart health, and even alleviating IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).
However, recent studies show that these compounds have better functionality when consumed with food.
Although it took 15 years to bring the purple tomatoes into the market, it was a worthwhile moment after it gained regulatory approval. The researchers hope to gain similar approval in the UK, to make it available for UK consumers.
Instead of gaining the benefits of anthocyanins and antioxidants from supplements, consuming these purple tomatoes is far more beneficial.
Those looking to bring a healthier change to their diets can add purple GM tomatoes to their diets.