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Beware Of The Tomato Tamperers

Memo Pad

Beware Of The Tomato Tamperers


Some people are too smart for your own good.

Food geneticists, for example. These technicians have the smarts to tinker with the inner workings of Momma Nature’s own good foods — but not the smarts to leave well enough alone.

In fairness, much of their scientific tinkering has been beneficial. But during the past half-century, too much of their work devolved from tinkering into outright tampering with our food. This is mostly the result of money flowing to both private and public research centers from big agribusiness corporations that want nature’s design altered in ways that fatten their bottom lines. Never mind that the alterations created by these smart people are frequently not good for you and me.

Take the tomato, truly a natural wonder. Agribusiness profiteers, however, wanted it to do unnatural things, so — voila! — the genetic tamperers in the 1960s and ’70s dutifully produced the Amazing Industrial Tomato. It’s a techno-marvel made to endure long-distance shipping, be harvested while green and then artificially ripened to appear tomato-y red and last an ungodly amount of time without rotting.

But taste? Forget it. There’s more flavor in the carton. This led to the “Upchuck Rebellion” — a grassroots movement of consumers, small farmers and local food artisans. In the last couple of decades, they’ve spurred phenomenal growth in farmers markets and stores that offer nature’s own locally produced and heirloom varieties untouched by the smart ones.

Jim Hightower

Jim Hightower is a nationally syndicated columnist and one of America's most prominent progressive voices. His column carried by more than 75 publications across the country. Prior to becoming a writer, Hightower served as Texas Agricultural Commission from 1982 to 1991.

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  1. howa4x July 12, 2012

    When you have greed as the only real ethic in the country, people will do anything to get it, and because every american is looked at by every industry as a potential consumer, bio engineering the tomato so people can have it all year round just maximizes your profits. That is what the goal is isn’t it, to maximize earnings and be the darling o Wall st. Producing healthy food is too expensive and the window of time too narrow to make that kind of money. Forget the fact it dosen’t have any taste, or nutritional value it’s business and in this country business trumps people every time.
    That’s what the congress is really there for, to protect business, and give people just enough to keep them buying.

    1. 13observer July 12, 2012

      Really? Wait just a dog-gone minute! You people throw this “GREED” title around quite convieniently. Did you support STEM CELL RESEARCH? Why? Do you support EDUCATION? Always the education! WTF do you think these graduates are doing with their f’n education????? BIOTECHNOLOGY!!! Duh! Why is education so important if all you are going to do is ridicule a graduate that becomes successful? Maybe if he/she turns out to be a good democrat you will give them a pass. You make me sick with your bullsh*t. What is it going to be? Lose the “class envy” crap and stop labeling success with a greed stamp on it, otherwise WTF good is an education, technology and so on? I highly doubt people want to deliberately harm anyone regardless of their so-called “bottom line”. This is also about convienience of having a product availability year-round. Those people (with an education) also create drugs that keep people ALIVE or heal them. Do you believe their motivation is purely “profit driven”? Even if it is, we all are better off for it. Perhaps you would have us suspend or limit education to stop all these enterprising young graduates from attaining success, stature, wealth, vision for fear that some day they may become a republican or even a bit greedy. I want to watch you make that argument.

      1. howa4x July 12, 2012

        That’s a great comment to me. Sure technology is great and we wouldn’t have put someone on the moon with out it, and gene splicing may be the answer to cancer. As for your comment that educated scientists create drugs that heal you, the fact is they don’t. They make drugs for companies for profit that maintain your illness enough that you can be semi functional. If you want to get better change your lifestyle. You seem to think that the richest 1% have a right to be taxed at a lower rate than yourself. I myself wouldn’t call that bright since someone has to pay and if you let them off, you pay more. That is called voting against your own seld interest.Greed isn’t good this is why all the religions warn you against accumulating more than you’ll ever need. It would be one thing is they did something good with the tax cuts we gave them but during the Bush 2 years but 2.9 million jobs were sent overseas. why? Because of greed. Romney your republican hero made his money out sourcing jobs, and took the profits and hid them in off shore accounts to avoid paying full taxes. Is that good for America? We need educated people since we run a complex society but not many of them will become as rich as Bill Gates but will make a nice living. No one is against that! I just want the super rich to pay their fair share, or use their money to create jobs and not just collect interest for themselves. If you want to be their lap dog that’s ok
        There are countries that won’t allow mutated genes in seed. We are not growing healthier food just more of it. If you want the same nutritional benefit from 1 can of spinach you ate in 1948 today you need to eat 75 cans. Just look at americans, we are some of the fattest on earth. and that happens because we have a greedy food industry that cares more about profits than peoples health and will advertise sugary products directly to children even though we are in the midst of a diabetes epidemic. why? Profit that’s why
        The food industry puts so much anti biotics in chickens that we now have a form of E:coli affecting women’s bladders that is anti biotic resistant. We have more cancer, heart disease and diabetes than ever before and its’ because of greed. Still think it’s good? Maybe you don’t care about the future of your family but I do, and I’m not going to take advise form people as uneducated and ill informed as you

        1. 13observer July 12, 2012

          Who ever told you that wealthy people HAD TO create jobs with THEIR money? What compels the wealthy to pay their so-called “fair share” of taxes? Perhaps they should a higher rate so more SOCIAL WELFARE programs are available to illegal aliens so yet more and more come while Obama avoids his responsibility to ENFORCE our immigration laws just because he is courting the hispanic vote. Do you believe a worker should be forced to pay UNION DUES if they are receiving the benefits of a labor agreement? I do! How about those FEES!!! Well? What about a FLAT TAX? Everyone would have to contribute SOMETHING and have ownership in the services. How much TAX should a wealthy person pay into a welfare system they will NEVER use. Why should people that have paid no taxes receive EARNED INCOME TAX CREDITS? You sure like spending other peoples money! By the way, I’m not wealthy but also won’t join in on demanding that others some how OWE me or are responsible for me not making a good living. Chew on that for a bit.

          1. howa4x July 12, 2012

            We as a society determine how much everyone should pay. We designed our tax code to allow the accumulation of wealth because of a social contract that said if we do this for you then you will create jobs for us. Everything was fine till the 80’s when we said ok you can accuulate more wealth and be the way you don’t have to hire anyone and in the 90’s we said that the accumulation of wealth is the key so you can now export jobs and make even more.
            Now the wealthiest 1% make 256% more than the next multmillionaire. So let me ask you, do you use the military? But you pay for it even if you are against the Iraq invasion or the afganistan mission. so do you want only the middle class to shoulder the burden for that or do you want everyone to share equally. As for welfare, do you realize we pay Exxon and all the oil companies to drill, and ADM to grow corn for ethanol that they sell for a profit, and farm subsudies to the sugar industry and we even gave money to tobacco growers even though their products kill you. So when you talk about welfare let’s talk about all of it ok.
            Our economy was never designed to run at 100% empolyment so there was always going to be a group that was left out. During Reagan the unemploymet rate was 9.1% and everyone thought he was great. He also presided over the largest transfer of wealth from the middle class(you and me) to the super rich through the tax code in history. I too support a 16% across the board tax but that is not going to happen
            Drugs killed the under class in the cities and you know who made that happen? It was a marriage between the mafia who supplied the drugs and the police that let it happen. that’s right looked the other way for big payouts. So now we have to clean up the mess. One of the ways we do it is to give kids born there a chance with programs like head start which is pre school for low income kids. And that is the 1st things you in the right wing want to cut. Because you don’t understand the problem because you get all your information from Fox, Beck, coulter, Hannity, and of course Rush who are paid millions to lie to you every day.

          2. ARepublicanNorthlandGrad July 13, 2012

            ADM doesn’t grow corn, they buy it.

          3. howa4x July 13, 2012

            I don’t think so but they still get a subsidy from the congress

          4. ARepublicanNorthlandGrad July 13, 2012

            Don’t think what? That they buy corn? They are one of the largest commodity buyers in the country. They were in the news a few years back for cheating farmers. Don’t know how they would qualify for a subsidy, where are you getting your facts from? Don’t get me wrong, I am no fan of ADM, but lets only blame them for their crimes, not their preceived ones.

  2. howa4x July 13, 2012

    They make Ethanol

  3. Don July 14, 2012



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