Advances in genetic engineering and the success of 'functional foods', suchas calcium-fortified juice, are, according to this story, spawning a new,exotic generation of agricultural products: bananas that produce a choleravaccine, vegetables containing bonus vitamins, and many more.
Experts in agriculture, nutrition and public health, meeting for a three-day"foods for health" conference that concluded on Tuesday at the University ofMinnesota,US were cited as confirming that the new products will blur the distinctionbetween the kitchen cupboard and the medicine cabinet. Knowledge already in the hands of the food industry.
According to the story, researchers are working to get measles vaccines from a tobacco plant, rabies vaccines from spinach and a cholera vaccine from bananas. They have engineered corn to produce oral vaccines for travellers` diarrhoea, antibodies for the treatment of herpes, and an enzyme for treating the symptoms ofcystic fibrosis.
The story continues that the new wave of gene-engineered "agriceutical" drugs andenhanced-nutrition foods is still confined to laboratories and hot houses, but human trials on the first products are either under way or about tobegin.The National Corn Growers Association estimates that at least 400plant-based drugs are under development worldwide.
Geneticists maintain that once the new crops move into the field, special precautions will be needed to keep them from cross-pollinating withconventional food crops and contaminating them with errant genes.