As awareness of the issues surrounding GM crops and food escalates in the US, and the myth of 'acceptance' in the homeland of GM wears thin, the quirkiest GM-promotion yet has been launched.
'Frank' is the mascot of Biology Fortified Inc. (BFI). He is available for photoshots and to give cookery lessons. Also, Frank is in the process of being cloned for personal use, and is due to become sugar-daddy to a papaya genetically engineered to be female and to have eyes (possibly with contact-lenses).
Frank's full name is Frank N. Foode “to make light of it all”; the 'all' being the “strange, dangerous or monstrous” foods already in our diet of which, apparently, GM-altered ones aren't the scariest.
BFI started life as a blog run by GM agri-scientists. The scientists, being professional grant-applicants, have since won grants and prizes to the tune of $11,500 with which to fund Frank.
A self-declared “reliable” source of information on genetics and biotechnology with no competing financial interests, BFI is non-profit and “does not accept funding from private companies, for-profit corporations or political interests”. Its fund-seeking ventures and Frank have, nevertheless had pivotal, professional, behind-the-scenes social-networking support from biotech industry trade organisations such as CropLife and the Council for Biotechnology Information.
BFI's tactics seem to be to re-brand GM foods 'friendly', non-GM foods 'weird', and consumers unable to learn or think.
Genetic transformation is, apparently, akin to cooking, to smoking jalapeno peppers (to produce chipotles), and to generating sterile limes and watermelons through chromosome duplications.
Bizarre ways, indeed, to 'strengthen the discussion' on concerns about the artificial creation and insertion of DNA into the life-processes of cells.
- Cooking with Frank N. Foode, Wisconsin Science Festival - Curiosity unleashed - 2014, www.wisconsinsciencefest.org/wsf-eventview.php?id=85
- Rebekah Wilce, Meet the Plush GMO Mascot, Frank N. Foode, Center for Media and Democracy, 26.03.14
- Biology Fortified Inc., and Council for Biotechnology Information, www.sourcewatch.org, accessed March 2014