Brits Chemically Engineer Purple Tomatoes, Just Like Willy Wonka Wanted

As news emerges that agribusiness giant Monsanto is attempting to "go organic" in search of the most delicious-tasting vegetable, British engineers are still at the lab, making an outright chemical mess with your salad ingredients.

The latest in genetically modified food banks on the dumbed-down popularity of antioxidants by injecting the visual appeal and trigger of blueberries (antioxidants! superfood! blue!) into the icky, unappetizing red of a tomato. You know what else is red? Blood. Communism. Those hokey, witchcraft miracle berries that made you like cilantro even though you hate cilantro.

These purple GM tomatoes, for which production is well underway, are made that way by injecting anthocyanin, a water-soluble pigment that gives blueberries their color and contributes to their alleged health properties. Though the science behind antioxidants is as yet difficult to study in humans, research with mice has found a slowing and prevention of cancer.

The new superfood, however, is already encountering some roadblocks: as Professor Cathie Martin told the BBC about outsourcing their product to Canada, "It is frustrating that we've had to go to Canada to do a lot of the growing and the processing and I hope this will serve as a vanguard product where people can have access to something that is GM but has benefits for them." Benefits that are still, according to the Harvard School of Public Health, unfounded:

Randomized, placebo-controlled trials—which, when performed well, provide the strongest evidence—offer little support that taking vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, or other single antioxidants provides substantial protection against heart disease, cancer, or other chronic conditions. The results of the largest such trials have been mostly negative.

Notably, in a survey taken on This Is Local London, when commenters were asked which ingredient of a full English breakfast they'd eschew, a large majority claimed tomatoes. Very, very interesting.

[Image of heirloom tomatoes via AP]