Magazine article The New Yorker

Readers Digest

Magazine article The New Yorker

Readers Digest

Article excerpt

In 1998, just as the battle over genetically modified food was heating up, the Monsanto C.E.O. Robert Shapiro--one of the men who represented O. J. Simpson--was struck in the face by a tofu cream pie hurled by enraged eco-protesters in San Francisco. Shapiro has moved on from Monsanto, the chemical giant that created Agent Orange and that, since the nineteen-eighties, has become a powerhouse in transgenic crop technology--the practice of inserting foreign genes (from, say, fireflies or chicken) into corn, potatoes, and rice. In Food, Inc. (Simon & Schuster), the veteran reporter Peter Pringle offers a refreshingly measured look at this brave new world of "gene guns," Flavr Savr tomatoes, contaminated taco shells, lax regulatory oversight, dwindling crop diversity, rapacious "biopirates," and geneticists toiling in grenade-proof greenhouses (opponents have been known to resort to tougher tactics than tofu pies). …

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