GM purple tomatoes developed in Norfolk hit US shelves 

Genetically modified purple tomatoes, which were first developed by Norfolk scientists nearly 20 years ago, are now available to buy in the US.

The commercial launch of this genetically modified vegetable marks a huge milestone for Professor Cathie Martin, a group leader at the John Innes Centre in Norwich. Her team announced the purple tomato in a landmark scientific paper back in 2008.

By incorporating two genes from the snapdragon flower, the new tomato variety contains purple antioxidants called anthocyanins. They can also be found in blueberries, blackberries and aubergine. The nutrients are associated with a host of health benefits.

Remarkable demand 

Last year, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) declared that purple tomatoes are safe to eat. The seeds are now available in stores for $20 (£15.60) per pack.  

However, current GM regulations prevent the tomatoes from being grown commercially in Britain.  

While talking to the media, Prof Martin said that since the launch of purple tomatoes, the demand for the seeds has been “remarkable”.

Norfolk Healthy Produce expects to launch fresh purple tomatoes into US grocery stores later this year. 

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