Unnatural Selection

Summer Reading:

devil tomato

O Devayani, you thought they would never die.
You bought a bag of tomatoes in October,
and ate most of them
half ripe, as they always are,
from the grocery store.

But — having momentarily lost
the taste for tomatoes —
you set two aside to ripen.
Week after week they remained
on top of the refrigerator,
not quite ripe,
yellowish-red, their skins firm,
their flesh smooth.
They didn’t ripen and they didn’t rot.
Months went by,
they remained the same as the day

you put them atop the refrigerator.
You laughed with your friends about them,
you speculated on the horrors
of genetically altered foodstuffs.
You thought of the half dozen you had eaten.
Would they stay in your stomach

month after month,
unchanged, forever, like the two tomatoes
on top of the fridge?
You read an article that said irradiating
keeps them in a state of not quite ripe.
It didn’t say forever, but…
Irradiated food. One month,
two months
three months
four months

five months —
possibly in the sixth month,
first one and then the other tomato
began to rot.
They soon began to smell abominably.
Is this food?
Two tomatoes,

two immortal tomatoes.
O Devayani,
do you wonder
that you fear the sustenance
of this society:
fear, anxiety, permanence, insurance,
the desire to forego change
and death?
O Devayani,
a wise woman would fear to eat
anything at all.

Two Tomatoes, by Jan Haag

FlavrSavr tomatoes, thanks to Monsanto and friends. StarLink corn too. But their best shot was the Terminator.

Corporate multinationals like Monsanto could change the way farmers around the world have operated for millennia. Bent on controlling the food chain, their “technology protection system” rendered seeds sterile. It would protect their intellectual property – mostly herbicide tolerance and insect resistance. Farmers would be forced to buy their seed at every planting.

So much for the myth that commercial biotechnology’s aim is to Solve World Hunger.

Dinner at the New Gene Cafe

Seeds of Deception

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