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Busting Monsanto's 'Better' Broccoli

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Genetic Engine page, Politics and Democracy page, Genetic Engineering page, and our Millions Against Monsanto page.

Many of us are familiar with Monsanto the seed giant, but who knew the company was making a new ready-to-eat packaged broccoli? The new product is called Beneforte, and it quietly launched last October. This vegetable is not genetically modified (i.e. no pesticides were engineered into its genes), but rather a hybrid of commercial broccoli with a variety native to southern Italy.

Advertised with a "naturally better broccoli" tag line, the selling point pitched at the health conscious is that "it boosts the body's antioxidant enzymes at least 2 times more than other broccoli." Specifically, one serving of Beneforte broccoli "naturally contains 2 - 3 times the phytonutrient glucoraphanin [a type of glucosinolate] as a serving of other leading broccoli varieties produced under similar growing conditions."

"Similar growing conditions" -- there's an interesting tidbit. For all we know, then, Beneforte's glucopharanin content could pale in comparison to that of organic broccoli. Of course, this obsession with glucoraphanin is a silly and myopic distraction. Broccoli, by virtue of being a vegetable, is healthful and does not need to be improved upon. None of the myriad of chronic health issues affecting millions of Americans are due to "faulty broccoli" with low levels of glucoraphanin.

The biggest irony of this product lies in Monsanto's claim that Beneforte "helps maintain your body's defenses against the damage of environmental pollutants and free radicals."