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Food, Inc.

Food, Inc.

Mendel to Monsanto--The Promises and Perils of the Biotech Harvest

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For most people, the global war over genetically modified foods is a distant and confusing one. The battles are conducted in the mystifying language of genetics.
A handful of corporate "life science" giants, such as Monsanto, are pitted against a worldwide network of anticorporate ecowarriors like Greenpeace. And yet the possible benefits of biotech agriculture to our food supply are too vital to be left to either partisan.
The companies claim to be leading a new agricultural revolution that will save the world with crops modified to survive frost, drought, pests, and plague. The greens warn that "playing God" with plant genes is dangerous. It could create new allergies, upset ecosystems, destroy biodiversity, and produce uncontrollable mutations. Worst of all, the antibiotech forces say, a single food conglomerate could end up telling us what to eat.
In Food, Inc., acclaimed journalist Peter Pringle shows how both sides in this overheated conflict have made false promises, engaged in propaganda science, and indulged in fear-mongering. In this urgent dispatch, he suggests that a fertile partnership between consumers, corporations, scientists, and farmers could still allow the biotech harvest to reach its full potential in helping to overcome the problem of world hunger, providing nutritious food and keeping the environment healthy.
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  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 256 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780743267632 | 
  • February 2005
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One: Mendel's Little Secret

One of the most cherished dreams of plant breeders has been to find a way to transform corn and other cereal grains into super-plants able to reproduce themselves....The term for this type of vegetative miracle is "apomixis."

-- U.S. Department of Agriculture Press Release, 1998

Thinking about how our food is changing at the hands of the genetic engineers leads inevitably to the image of Gregor Mendel, the Moravian monk, breeding peas in his monastery garden a century and a half ago. Dressed always in a black robe, a pair of tweezers in one hand and a camel-hair paintbrush in the other,... see more

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