RSS FeedFacebookSearch
Gary Younge
From the archive: Taste of the future put to the test

With an open mind and a refined palate Mariano Casotti brought the spoonful of genetically modified Californian tomato puree to his mouth and tasted the future. "Not much difference," he said of the puree, on sale for the first time in Sainsbury and Safeway stores yesterday. He smacked his lips and went back to his traditionally grown Italian puree for further comparison.

What Mr Casotti does not know about pasta and sauces is probably not worth knowing. For 35 years the assistant executive chef to Spaghetti House has been up and making pasta by the tubful while the rest of the country has scarcely thought of breakfast.

But taste, he says, isn't everything. "The colour is very rich and dark which could deaden the colour of meat in a bolognese sauce. And the texture is slightly rougher … more starchy," he said, absent-mindedly patting both dishes of red goo smooth with the bottom of his spoon.

He conferred in Italian with Riccardo Lavarini to ensure the two connoisseurs spoke with one, satiated, tongue. "Without comparing actual dishes it is a little difficult to say but usually we use puree just for colouring the sauces," said Mr Lavarini, the director of Spaghetti House. "I must say I'm a little uncomfortable with the name. People like to think that they are getting freshly prepared food. This sounds a little too scientific."

It took 21 years of research to produce the 29p can of puree in question. The big breakthrough came in 1986 when they isolated the enzyme which accelerates the rotting process in tomatoes, allowing growers to produce longer-lasting, firmer-textured fruit.

The benefits are that firmer tomatoes will not go squashy when they are handled; more tomatoes are harvested; more arrive at shops intact and once there they do not deteriorate as quickly.

The Sainsbury's version comes with a special leaflet reassuring customers that all ethical considerations have been taken into account. It has even earned the approval of their advisory committee on genetic modification. "We treat the ethical issues relating to genetically modified products on a case by case basis. With tomatoes there did not seem to be a problem," said a Sainsbury's spokesman last night, insisting that demand will determine how long it remains on the shelves.

For the sceptics there is [a] freefone number for further explanation. For those who just want something cheap and tasty to put on their pizza bases most of the information is on the tin. But for Mr Casotti the proof of the puree, genetically modified or not, will always be in the eating.

© Gary Younge. All Rights reserved, site built with tlc
 follow on twitter
We’ll that’s awkward https://t.co/X7NN3QwZwl
RT @penvlaanderen: Vanaf 29 mei is Brussel drie dagen lang het toneel van het Asmara-Addis Literary Festival - In Exile. Op maandag 30 mei…
RT @sulaimanaddonia: A panel dedicated to writers & journalists around the world, and esp in Eritrea, who are being persecuted for their cr…
RT @PaulLewis: Thrilled to announce that the Guardian’s investigation team is expanding. We’re recruiting several new journalists, includin…
RT @sulaimanaddonia: So thrilled to announce our panels for DAY 1 of the AALFIE. On “radical interpretation of Europe through travel, mig…
Watch this space. @Lanre_Bakare is a real talent. https://t.co/nwbYqf7y7L
RT @guardianlive: Award-winning artist and filmmaker #SteveMcQueen, Tate Director @mbalshaw and sociologist Paul Gilroy will be in conversa…
RT @nyeusi_waasi: For 20 days, 8 African miners have been stranded more than 500 meters deep in a zinc mine operated by a Canadian company…
RT @sulaimanaddonia: Reminder: We have 80 FREE tickets for refugees/working class/Students/artists on low-income to attend our festival tha…
© Gary Younge. All Rights reserved, site built with tlc
Cheap asacol canada Best price for estrace cream Can you buy avalide over the counter usa Where is better to buy floxin Generic keflex cost Get flonase prescription online Get tamiflu Where can i buy cellcept over the counter usa Generic vibramycin cost Order flomax online