Flavr Savr

„In1996 the first GM product – a tomato puree made from the Flavr Savr tomato hit UK shops.

The product was produced by Zeneca from tomatoes that were grown and processed in California and genetically engineered to ripen more slowly. It was introduced to the UK by supermarkets Sainsbury’s and Safeway. The paste was competitively priced and clearly labelled and more than 1.8 million cans were sold from 1996 through early 1999.

For a while the GMO tomato paste even out-sold conventional tomato paste at many locations, but sales declined dramatically in 1998 as consumers became more aware of just what was at stake. It was withdrawn from the market in 1999.

The Flavr Savr tomato isn’t just a footnote in GMO history. It was a turning point, which showed that even when a product was sold at a cut rate price, consumers were simply not prepared to gamble with the unknown consequences of eating GM foods.

Although an army of vested interests, rent-a-quote ‘scientists’ and’ bought’ politicians remains as vocal as ever about the promises of genetically modified crops, the reality, two decades on, is that GMOs have consistently failed to deliver.“