The USDA has approved a genetically modified purple tomato, clearing the path for the unique fruit to be sold in American stores next year.
In addition to its unique color, the purple tomato also has health benefits and a longer shelf life than garden variety red tomatoes, scientists say.
The tomato was developed by a team of scientists, including British biochemist Cathie Martin, who is a professor at the University of East Anglia.
The ‘purple tomato’ was created not just for its visual appeal but for its enhanced nutritional qualities.
The purple colors come from increasing the levels of what scientists believe is a cancer-fighting antioxidant known as anthocyanins, which turns the usually red fruit into a deep purple.
Anthocyanins are naturally occurring pigments present in particularly high levels in berries such as blackberry, cranberry and chokeberry.
Anthocyanins don’t have a flavor or smell of their own, although their presence brings a slightly “astringent”, or acidic, taste.
There is some evidence that anthocyanins offer protection against certain cancers, cardiovascular disease, and age-related degenerative disorders due to their anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties
This approval also makes the US the first-ever country on the planet to allow the growth of genetically modified products.