Friday, February 20, 2009


7 Intriguing Genetically Modified Fruits & Veggies

Posted: 19 Feb 2009 03:44 PM PST


Genetically modified food is one of great controversies of our time. Supporters point to wonderful possibilities of nutrient-packed food and solving world hunger, while critics fear unknown effects on human health. But whatever one’s opinion the matter, one thing is clear: some genetically modified fruits and vegetables are awfully intriguing! Here are 7 of the most interesting examples:



(Image via Elanso)

The graisin (or giant raisin) is a raisin which has been genetically re-programmed to grow far beyond its normal size. It was produced by Japan’s National Institute of Genetics, which is unsurprising given that nation’s love for large fruits of all kinds. And while they taste exactly the same as small raisins, graisins are sure to make dinner guests stare in awe!



(Image via Wikipedia)

Originally funded by UNICEF and created for Third World aid efforts, a grapple is simply a genetic cross between a grape and an apple. The fruit keeps the size and shape of the apple, the texture of the grape, and the flavor of both while providing a potent, high-strength dose of vitamin C.



(Image via

Plums and apricots are delicious fruits in their own right, but combined, they form the genetically modified treat known as the pluot. Described by WiseGeek as “an intensely flavored fruit”, pluots are heavily fortified with vitamin C and have no sodium or cholesterol.



(Image via TeamSugar)

“Should I have a tangerine or a grapefruit?” No longer need this question be asked! Lovers of each fruit can now get the best of both worlds with this sweet hybrid, which boasts a ton of fiber, vitamin C, and a slightly tart taste!

Colorful carrots


(Image via MSNBC)

Could colorful, genetically-modified carrots like those pictured here be the secret to absorbing more calcium? Two Texas researchers say yes - and they’ve created a carrot they claim allows people to absorb 40% more calcium than normal carrots to back up their claims!

Diabetes-fighting lettuce


(Image via FloridaTrend)

Diabetes is one of the most frustrating and life-threatening illnesses out there. Living with it (at minimum) means daily, sometimes painful insulin injections - until now. University of Central Florida professor Henry Daniell has created a genetically modified strain of lettuce (pictured above) that carries the insulin gene. The lettuce cells protect the insulin on its journey through the digestive tract, and when the insulin reaches the intestines, the body’s natural insulin-producing response is triggered.



(Image via FreeWebs)

Okay, so a lemon and a tomato aren’t the most natural of pairs, but that didn’t stop Israeli researchers from bringing us the Lemato! Unlike other genetically altered fruits and veggies (which were created primarily for health reasons), it appears that the lemato was solely an experiment to determine if it was possible to make tomatos give off the scent of lemons. Mission accomplished!

Celebrity Environmentalists & Their Activism

The mass public has never been as open to the idea of “going green” as it is in 2009. However, this may not have happened were it not for the passionate activism of some key public figures! These “green celebrities” have made it their business to spread the word about helping the environment.

It would be an injustice for anyone but this man to top a list of celebrity environmentalists. The former vice-president’s seminal film “An Inconvenient Truth” opened the floodgates of public awareness on environmental issues, paving the way for Gore to spearhead a number of ambitious ecological projects. Perhaps his most promising such project is “Repower America”, which aims to have America running on 100% clean power within 10 years.

Leonardo DiCaprio


(Image via The Green Miles)

Baby-faced Leonardo DiCaprio has been an outspoken advocate for green policies in the last few years. In addition to flying mostly commercially and driving himself around in a Toyota Prius, DiCaprio lent his celebrity status to producing and narrating the eye-opening green documentary “The 11th Hour.

Robert Redford


(Image via

Some celebrities are content to merely spout some green buzzwords, pressure people to buying hybrids and bask in the self-serving glow of being perceived as a celebrity who cares. Then there’s Robert Redford, who has personally campaigned to protect Utah wilderness, spent 30 years on the board of the Natural Resources Defense Council, and pushed several US mayors to make climate change a priority in their towns and cities. While others “talk the talk”, Redford has been earnestly “walking the walk” since long before it was popular to do so.

George Clooney


(Image via

George Clooney’s primary contribution to green celebrity lore was founding OilChange, a campaign aimed at ending America’s dependence on foreign oil. Clooney also owns and operates an electric hybrid car called the Tango (pictured above.)

Pearl Jam


(Image via Wired)

Grunge heavyweights Pearl Jam are quite possibly the first major touring act to assess its actions in terms of impact on the planet. As guitarist Stone Gossard (pictured above, center) explains in a 2006 interview (2:24 into the video), “we’re looking at our supply chains, where our CDs are manufactured, what kind of chemicals go into those, how far they have to fly…doing everything to counteract as much of the bad stuff we do as opposed to the good stuff.” Pearl Jam has also partnered with numerous organizations to help offset the carbon emissions of the estimated 1 million fans driving to and from the band’s concerts.

Ed Begley, Jr.


(Image via Green Patriot)

The host of his own green-themed reality TV show “Living With Ed”, Ed Begley, Jr. is another green celebrity who practices what he preaches. In addition to advocating for green policies on a wide scale, Begley composts his garbage and relies exclusively on thermal and solar energy to power his house. Talk is cheap, but a celebrity who so radically lives what he advocates deserves our sincerest praise!

Ed Norton


(Image via Daily Green)

Best known for his hard-hitting on-screen persona in hit films like “American History X”, Ed Norton is spending a lot of his spare time fighting for solar energy. But instead of merely talking about the benefits of solar, Norton has set up a program called BP Solar Neighbors. The idea is to get other celebrities involved, as each time a celeb buys a solar panel for his or her home, BP donates one to a family in need.


masterwordsmith said...

Thanks for this interesting post!!! Er...being a greenie, I am always concerned about the negative effects of GMF. What are your views about these, Ocho-Onda?

Have a nice weekend!


ocho-onda said...

That's a tough call to make, Paula ! The conundrum here is the conclusiveness of the research done in view of the long term effects.
Both sides of the argument are equally compelling but the fact still remains that we (humankind)could have opened a can of worms or we may have not . The long term effects are yet to be seen - the human race could end up being a mutated species - more superior or more deformed!

masterwordsmith said...

Hello Ocho-Onda,

I do agree with you...To a very large extent, the motivation behind GMF may be good e.g. increased nutritional content such as what you have highlighted here. The positive effects of GMF may help to alleviate our worries about food supply in the future and produce crops that possess disease/pest/weather/herbicide tolerance ..

At this point of time, I reckon we are still in 'safe' mode as there are only about 40 plant varieties which have met FDA requirements for commercialization but while there are very few GM foods on sale (even if they are...they are expensive), highly processed foods, such as vegetable oils or breakfast cereals most likely contain some tiny percentage of genetically-modified ingredients. Then there is the the ubiquity of soybean derivatives as food additives which almost virtually ensures that many consumers have been exposed to GM food products.Still, like what you mentioned, the long term effects cold go either way.

This topic was one of my fav when I was lecturing and the kids loved debates on this issue. Also, my two years with FOE as a writer left me with no choice but to read loads on this and many other issues...

Personally, I would love to taste the foods you described above out of sheer greed :-)haha but for me, I think the most worrying part is the possible creation of allergens for susceptible individuals like me :-).

I find this topic very fascinating and have an insatiable thirst to know more!!! I have to salute you cos your selection of images is awesome and you must have put in a lot of time to look for them...and I notice the variety of sources you used...Most admirable.

I do spend a lot of time looking for images as well but am not as innovative and resourceful like you...depending only on one or two I really appreciate the effort you put into this post.

Just out of curiosity and envy haha...have you tasted any GM fruits/vege?? ;) I have not...Sorry for this long comment..

Take care and thanks again for this post.

Have a lovely weekend!

February 20, 2009 1:06 PM

ocho-onda said...

Hi Paula,

Good morning. You are up early. :-)
I think I will stay away from GM foods. The laws here are stringent enough as far as labeling of consumer foods are concerned.
It is wonderful to know that you are so aware and also much into greener living.
It's scary to know the amount of preservatives,additives, chemicals and junk that end up in the food chain without the consumers being aware of it.
Have a great weekend as well. Cheers.

masterwordsmith said...

Hello again Ocho-Onda,

Did you just add the pics for the celebrity activism????

Aiiiiyoooooooo Robert Redford and George Clooney are my idols. Sorry to do this but I have to steal those two pics!!!! The say confession is good for the soul :-).


btw, check out Ben Affleck's article in TIME magazine...moving article and a montage of war pics too...


ocho-onda said...

I can imagine you gushing over Bob during your school girlie years ! Maybe the flame of adoration is still burning strong ? :-)

ocho-onda said...

I was looking for some pictures of Brad Pitt with Angie baby to paste but couldn't find any. I saw him in Oprah's . He did a lot of conservation and public housing work to help the victims of the floods in New Orleans .

masterwordsmith said...

:-) Heard of the song Eternal Flame by The Bangles? ;-)

I must have watched The Great Gatsby more then twenty times just because of Robert Redford in my teens and knew all his lines but alas, my memory fails me now...

Yes, Brad Pitt did a lot in New Orleans and also in Africa..can't remember the place but a former student of mine did her GAP year there when they were hiding there for the birth of their baby then...


ocho-onda said...

It's hard to miss The Bangles in the eighties - remember its party crowd pleaser. "Walk like an Egyptian" ? Reminds me of good times in NZ ! :-)