Seven foods, genetically engineered
Under fire from an opposition campaign heavily financed by Monsanto, Dow Chemical and other big agribusiness names, Proposition 37 has been losing popularity in the polls. The measure would require the labeling of genetically engineered foods. But it also could threaten the livelihood of mom-and-pop grocers, lead the way to a plethora of lawsuits even when there's little to no evidence, and in the end leave consumers no better informed than they are today because food companies quite possibly would just slap labels on all their products with vague wording that they "may" contain genetically engineered ingredients. It's true, though, that there's reason for environmental concern over genetically engineered foods, and they haven't always been welcomed by consumers. Here, then, is a gallery of genetically engineered foods: those that got the ball rolling, those most popular now and the ones that might be on shelves in the reasonably near future. More: Endorsement: No on Proposition 37 --Karin Klein
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The Flavr Savr tomato( Noah Berger / Bloomberg )
Introduced in 1994, it was the first genetically engineered crop to be sold commercially. It featured not only an annoyingly purposeful misspelling in its name but the ability to stay firm through shipping. Though well received at first, disappointment set in when the flavor part implied in the name was lacking -- the tomato tasted like all its tasteless cousins that had been conventionally hybridized to ripen to a uniform red. We now know that that hybridization also turns off the gene that gives tomatoes flavor. In any case, the Flavr Savr proved unprofitable because of "high production and distribution costs," according to an article in the University of California's journal California Agriculture, and it disappeared from grocery shelves.
Above, a tomato breeder displays varieties grown at the Monsanto Co. facility in Woodland, Calif.