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The Rise of Nanofoods

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the just-a-little-tweak dept.

Biotech 369

separsons writes "Researchers are altering foods at the nanoscale level, changing their tiny molecular structures to enhance certain properties. (New Scientist has a more detailed look.) For example, one group of scientists found a way to hide water within individual droplets of oil, making low-fat mayonnaise taste like the real thing. The process can make spices spicier, potato chips healthier, and make diet food taste just like full-calorie snacks. Nanotech can even help combat global malnutrition. But the process is certainly controversial, and food manufacturers are being tight-lipped about exactly what nanofoods they're working on. So can nanotech create a healthier world, or is it just frightening Franken-food?"

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In... (-1, Offtopic)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 4 years ago | (#32377894)

In Soviet Russia, Nanofood eats you!

That's great and all... (1, Funny)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#32377934)

...but can it make beets taste like something other than shit?

Re:That's great and all... (3, Informative)

raddan (519638) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378156)

Which is ironic given that something like 30% [wikipedia.org] of all sugar consumed globally is from beets. Doesn't taste like poo.

Re:That's great and all... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32378206)

...but can it make beets taste like something other than shit?

"You are what you eat" goes for plants as well as animals. Good beets feed on good soil, and don't taste like those lifeless things you see in the supermarket.

Dwight Schrute? (1, Funny)

XanC (644172) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378492)

Is that you?

Re:That's great and all... (4, Funny)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378300)

Man... I read "beer" instead of "beets"... I was so ready to go into a full-scale nuclear flame-war there!

To come back on topic, you make beets taste actually good, but for that you need a damn good chef. Could be used as a test of his competence.

Re:That's great and all... (0)

robot256 (1635039) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378348)

I read "beer" instead of "beets" and was about to give him a pat on the back...

Re:That's great and all... (2, Informative)

da5idnetlimit.com (410908) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378432)

Mix.A.Golden.Apple.In.

  and if you really feel like haute cuisine hard boil an egg and sprinkle it on the mix.
and go easy on the vinegar and use a good quality oil. and don't forget a little bit of oignon.

Anything else ?

Re:That's great and all... (2, Informative)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378550)

Good oil and good vinegar salvages almost everything. Dash of balsamico, perhaps, and this sounds like a plan. :)

Re:That's great and all... (2, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378488)

I like beets.

Correction (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32378494)

When he said "beer", he meant "budweiser", and when he said "shit", he meant "piss".

Re:Correction (1, Funny)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378580)

When he said "beer", he meant "budweiser"

Category mismatch. Does not compute...

Re:Correction (0)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378650)

I thought that was Corona.

Re:That's great and all... (1)

DMUTPeregrine (612791) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378482)

Ever had fresh beets, instead of the canned gooey crap they normally sell?

Pretty bogus article/write-up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32377948)

Confusion of nanotech and nanofoods, but with no real examples of "nanofoods" beyond the upgrades to processing/mixing and the chemistry experiments that have always existed in cooking.

By some of these definitions, all foods beyond whole, uncooked foods are nanofoods and frankenfood.

Why? (1, Insightful)

thethibs (882667) | more than 4 years ago | (#32377950)

Make low-fat mayonnaise taste like the real thing?

Why would anyone want low-fat mayonnaise? Fat is what mayonnaise is about. It's about as pure a food as you can get that doesn't come from a nipple.

There's nothing you can do to make potato chips healthier; there's nothing healthy in potato chips to enhance.

New toys are fun, but these guys should find a different justification. How about more nutritious cattle feed?

Re:Why? (2, Informative)

R.Mo_Robert (737913) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378088)

New toys are fun, but these guys should find a different justification. How about more nutritious cattle feed?

Like ... grass instead of corn? Done. :)

Re:Why? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378522)

How about you show some proof that matters instead if regurgitating crap.

Re:Why? (5, Interesting)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378142)

They can magic the salt into a different shape that means more of the consumed salt hits the tongue, resulting in less salt used to achieve the same sensation of saltiness.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32378168)

The examples trumpeted in TFA lead-in are all about flavour enhancing through what I guess is increased surface area of flavour nano-particles. The nutrition side? 'Failure to deliver tangible results'. Then at the end they talk about iron nanoparticles that are actually biological analogues. Nutrition comes from a balanced diet, not food processors.

As for the cattle, you have to look at the economics of it. It's no use making expensive nano fortified feed, if industrial concerns are going with large amounts of cheap shit.

Re:Why? (4, Interesting)

vidnet (580068) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378234)

Why would anyone want low-fat mayonnaise? Fat is what mayonnaise is about.

If it's the fat you're after, oil is much cheaper and more pure. Mayonnaise is just about being delicious.

There's nothing you can do to make potato chips healthier; there's nothing healthy in potato chips to enhance.

Making potato chips less unhealthy is equivalent to making them healthier. No one's saying "healthy", just "healthier".

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32378238)

It's about as pure a food as you can get that doesn't come from a nipple.

What the fuck does that even mean? Mayo is oils, eggs, vinegar, salt, sugar and seasoning (and generally a bunch of preservatives). What makes that more or less pure than any other non processed food? How is it more pure than any one of it's ingredients by itself? What makes you think "purity" is the reason someone would want fat free mayonnaise? Generally I think people want fat free mayo because regular mayo is, you know, full of fat.

Also, in regards to your second asinine comment about potato chips, there are potatoes in potato chips, which are reasonably healthy, and you can also make something more healthy by removing or minimizing unhealthy things in it rather than 'enhancing' the healthy things in it, whatever the hell that means. Or alternatively you could add healthy things.

Re:Why? (-1, Troll)

Dumnezeu (1673634) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378356)

Or... or... listen to this... How about this?

Why would someone want mayonnaise for something other than fat? Here's an idea: maybe because you're a selfish ass and people just like the taste of mayo. And talk about messing with logic and blatant lying: who said there wasn't anything healthy in potato chips? What does that have to do with making the product healthier? Healthier === less bad for you. It has absolutely nothing to do with making something that already is healthy into something even more healthy. Go suck a dirty sock.

Re:Why? (3, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378412)

Why would anyone want low-fat mayonnaise? Fat is what mayonnaise is about

It always manages to surprise me when people say "The point of X is Y bad thing." If something tastes like mayo but doesn't make you fat, that's a good thing to many people. I mean, I'm assuming you don't have weight issues, but surely you can grasp the concept that other people do.

There's nothing you can do to make potato chips healthier; there's nothing healthy in potato chips to enhance.

What kind of reasoning is that? Reduce the amount of sodium, fat, cholesterol required to make them taste good and bam, it's healthier.

Re:Why? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378472)

"Why would anyone want low-fat mayonnaise? "
because they want the great taste and not the fat? If you can make potato chips taste the same and half the fat wouldn't that be healthier?

Imagine Cheese cake with almost not fat, but tastes identical.

"How about more nutritious cattle feed?
I'm sure that would happen as well.

Re:Why? (1)

pitchpipe (708843) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378526)

There's nothing you can do to make potato chips healthier; there's nothing healthy in potato chips to enhance.

I rather think the point is to make chips NOT unhealthy: they are something you eat for the pleasure and that's it.

It'd sorta be like making a cigarette that had no effect on your health and didn't stink. I'd smoke if they had that.

Media Twist (1, Troll)

dward90 (1813520) | more than 4 years ago | (#32377952)

As innovative and helpful as new developments could possily be, food alteration is already a "political" issue. Even though politics should have no active role to play in the reception of innovations that will probably improve lives, people will disagree with each other about based purely on political dogma.

Our best hope for allowing innovation like this without a knee-jerk, partisan backlash is for the mainstream media to ignore it completely: to let those who are actually vested in the technology and its consequences have the final say about what innovations can bring to the table, in agriculture or any field.

Re:Media Twist (5, Insightful)

amplt1337 (707922) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378112)

That's a fine principle, except that all consumers of food have a vested interest in changes to diet. You can eat organic all you want, if wind-bourne pollen from modified crops is fertilizing the neighboring organic fields, you'll wind up eating something whose health effects are not all that certain. And yes, in many cases anti-GMO folks are concerned when there isn't reason to be; but this is our food supply we're talking about, and a precautionary principle is in full effect.

Besides, self-regulating industries are prone to misrepresenting health effects when they have financial interests at stake. CF Vioxx... It's all well and good to say "let the market sort it out," but market solutions are ex post facto -- you don't know to punish a bad market actor until they've already dumped a billion barrels of oil in your gulf (and that's assuming that you, as a lowly, non-media-empowered consumer, can even break through the asymmetries of information in the first place). Regulations can be over-cautious and even misguided, and they can certainly fail; but they are much more effective than free-market actions in preventing the disaster before it happens repeatedly.

Re:Media Twist (2, Insightful)

lymond01 (314120) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378224)

Besides, self-regulating industries are prone to doing whatever the hell they want when they have financial interests at stake.

Just for clarification.

P.S. How do you do a strike on Slashdot? s,slash-s didn't work, neither did strike...

Re:Media Twist (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378602)

"Besides, self-regulating industries are prone to misrepresenting health effects when they have financial interests at stake."

(Looks at sat pics of Deepwater Horizon oil spill...)

Really? Who'd a thunk it?

Re:Media Twist (4, Insightful)

joebok (457904) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378128)

I would agree with you if I thought that the food industry would also play by those rules - use neutral, 3rd party science to determine what was safe, effective, etc. But we know that doesn't happen.

Blah, blah. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32378184)

I as an eater have the ultimate vested interest in what I eat.

I just want my food provider to tell me the truth about what goes inside. Then, I'll take my decisions.

I couldn't care less about the revenues of some agrobusiness complex. May they go out of business.

Re:Media Twist (2, Insightful)

raddan (519638) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378258)

The question of using new technology to develop food is hardly a political one. Sure, the discussion has become politicized, with all manner of uninformed people weighing in, but that doesn't mean the discussion is unimportant.

There have been problems with new foods, like transgenic crops. Trust Us, We're Experts [prwatch.org] details a case where potato crops utilizing a moth gene caused anaphylaxis (resulting in death) in a not-insignificant number of people who ate them. The scientist at Monsanto who was responsible for the problem attempted to raise awareness of the issue and had his career promptly squashed by his employer. Nanotech foods are similarly new.

That's not to say that new food technologies aren't important. They absolutely are. But the issue not as black-and-white as you make it out to be. Healthy skepticism is not the same thing as a knee-jerk backlash.

Re:Media Twist (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378610)

Yes because there aren't already natural things out there that are poisonous or people might be allergic to while other people aren't.

Like peanuts for example. Or potatoes.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potato#Toxicity [wikipedia.org]

Googling "deaths from GMO potato" doesn't really bring up anything and your link is an ad for a book.

I really dislike luddites when it comes to GM crops.

nothing really new here (1)

theIsovist (1348209) | more than 4 years ago | (#32377954)

This is just the next line of food additives that attempt to make food into something that it's not. Nothing new here really. We've had diet food before, we'll have more of it in the future. The taste might actually improve too. Some might be a welcome addition (the alteration to milk has made skim milk taste creamier, which is nice) or there might be missteps (think olestra). Why don't we focus on improving our diets so that they actually include healthy foods? There's a lot of food out there that's healthy for us that doesn't taste like cardboard.

Re:nothing really new here (3, Funny)

Purity Of Essence (1007601) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378042)

This is just the next line of food additives that attempt to make food into something that it's not. Nothing new here really.

But it's nanofood. NANO! "Nano" means better, just like "digital".

Re:nothing really new here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32378178)

I hope they make digital food soon.
I want to be able to download it!

Re:nothing really new here (5, Funny)

Purity Of Essence (1007601) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378314)

The thing about digital food is, you either love it or you hate it.

Re:nothing really new here (4, Interesting)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378500)

Don't forget, 70% of American's think that nanotechnology is inherently morally reprehensible. [eurekalert.org] And the numbers are even higher if you sample highly religious people. So either the general public has absolutely no idea what the word nanotechnology means or (and this is a scarier thought in my opinion) a significant majority of American's are against a technology are against any technology that promises to significantly enhance the human body.

Re:nothing really new here (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32378180)

Why don't we focus on improving our diets so that they actually include healthy foods? There's a lot of food out there that's healthy for us that doesn't taste like cardboard.

Guess what, people like how the "unhealthy" food tastes. Give me a tripple whopper with 20% calories and 100% taste any day.

Re:nothing really new here (3, Interesting)

Dumnezeu (1673634) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378436)

This is just the next line of food additives that attempt to make food into something that it's not.

Proof, pls. kthxbai.

Nothing new here really. We've had diet food before, we'll have more of it in the future.

Really? Nothing new?

The taste might actually improve too.

So improvements in taste is nothing new?

Why don't we focus on improving our diets so that they actually include healthy foods? There's a lot of food out there that's healthy for us that doesn't taste like cardboard.

That food is also quite expensive. It either costs a lot of time, a lot of processing or a lot of space. Also, TFA implies that this nanofood-thingy might have the potency to make cheap (crap) food healthier! Why change your diet to a different kind of food when you could have the same kind, but a bit different, so that it doesn't harm you as much? As long as you like the taste, your body gets the right amount of energy and it doesn't harm you... what else could be wrong with what you eat? The fact that it's not natural doesn't make it bad. Shit additives the manufacturers are using these days makes it bad. If we can improve those additives, I don't see what's wrong with eating plastic. Again: So fking what if it's not natural?

Re:nothing really new here (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378536)

Why don't we focus on improving our diets so that they actually include healthy foods?

We've all had that option all along, yet diet related heart disease and obesity still exist, indirectly driving up everyone's health insurance costs even if you do eat healthy. Technical advances that improve the quality of food doesn't distract from your ability to eat natural healthy foods either (unless you happen to be a food researcher and are too busy researching to eat right I guess).

There are some people who are never going to give up the taco bell, and they're never going to lose weight as a consequence. So we may as well make healthier junk food so at least they won't get heart attacks and make my health insurance go up.

Re:nothing really new here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32378658)

or, and pardon the cynicism, we could just make it more unhealthy and let them die faster.

"or is it just frightening Franken-food?" (4, Insightful)

SOdhner (1619761) | more than 4 years ago | (#32377964)

Ugh. Let's not scare-monger, please. If there are any specific risks or complaints about specific new products, that's fine - but there's nothing inherantly wrong or dangerous about this and lumping braod categories of things in together as "Frankenfoods" is irresponsible. We have always modified our food, this is just a more recent method than some.

Re:"or is it just frightening Franken-food?" (0, Troll)

cfrankb1 (1455281) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378066)

Here's a brilliant idea ! Let the consumer prove it is unsafe.

Re:"or is it just frightening Franken-food?" (2, Informative)

rotide (1015173) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378072)

It wouldn't be a kdawson article without alluding to a surreptitious motive, a conspiracy, or just being pure paranoia. Or a baby video they found cute...

Re:"or is it just frightening Franken-food?" (2, Insightful)

amplt1337 (707922) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378124)

New doesn't necessarily equal dangerous, but it also doesn't necessarily equal benign, either.

I just want to know what I'm buying, and that plenty of somebody elses have done guinea pig duty first.

Re:"or is it just frightening Franken-food?" (1)

hypergreatthing (254983) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378140)

the only frankenfood i know is franken berry (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Mills_monster-themed_breakfast_cereals).
Pretty good stuff, if yer into sugar food that is.

Everything else is still just carbs, fats, proteins and fiber.

Re:"or is it just frightening Franken-food?" (2, Insightful)

Locklin (1074657) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378244)

In the past, food additives have been developed primarily to lower cost often at the expense of quality. The only problem I have with these new technologies is that they could be used to make a firm red, yet rotten tomatoes. I love the technology, but don't trust the people wielding it.

Taste (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32377996)

My grey goo tastes like schnozberries!

Screw politics, its a health issue (1, Interesting)

retardpicnic (1762292) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378002)

We don't know nearly enough about how the bady will react to the ingestion of nanoparticles. Things so small that they could literally rush right into the bloodstream, which could be a small deal if we are talking about vitamins, but a big deal if we are talking about chemical preservatives. The idea is great, the science has yet to prove consumption safe.

Re:Screw politics, its a health issue (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32378060)

Well, so the next generation will become betatesters of nanofood science. Like all previous generations were testing something new and dying from its effects...

Re:Screw politics, its a health issue (2, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378268)

You suck nanoparticles into your lungs with every breathe.

ARE YOU DEAD YET?

Re:Screw politics, its a health issue (2, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378316)

No. But you will be.

You will be.

Re:Screw politics, its a health issue (1)

retardpicnic (1762292) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378620)

How delightfully obtuse. Breathing and eating are not the same game, they not even the same sport. But if I was going to grant your capital letter filled misinformation with a reply it would be that if those particles were say.... asbestos (which would be the particle analagy to food preservatives that I would draw) then YES my plan to live forever would be thwarted

Re:Screw politics, its a health issue (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378628)

"ARE YOU DEAD YET?"

It would be lovely if Bad Stuff either killed you or left you alone, but life isn't that simple.

Re:Screw politics, its a health issue (1)

doconnor (134648) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378542)

Do you what else is entirely constructed at the nanoscale level and was never subject to safety testing?

Every living thing on planet Earth.

Oh great. (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378004)

I'm sure nothing bad will come of this. Nosirree.

False dichotomy detected (1)

chinakow (83588) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378008)

It can suck and be cool at the same time. Everyone in the world may end up well fed and the SS may use the same tech for assassinations.

Re:False dichotomy detected (1)

dward90 (1813520) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378120)

Relatedly: Monsanto [wikipedia.org] makes both Agent Orange [wikipedia.org] and the Vitamin-A enriched rice (needs citation) that allows a huge segment of the world's poorest people to feed their children.

Nanofoods? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32378016)

Sounds like the restaurant portions are going to get smaller again...

the taste? (4, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378032)

What pisses me off isn't that new technologies are being incorporated, but the lack of labelling and identification.

* Olestra, remember that one? Eat a bag of chips, get "anal leakage".
* Or when McDonald's was ordered to strip transfats out of its foods, and the fries suddenly became a sea of suck.
* And then there was Foi Gras, which several jurisdictions outlawed because PETA said so.

Guys, it would be way cheaper to spend the money on education than by re-engineering our food into suckitude or to enforce some political ideology on all of us. There are some days when I just want a fucking cheeseburger, with fat oozing out of the sides, a thick slice of cheese, and smothered in a heart attack. Other days, I'll happily eat trail mix or a salad. It's my choice, not yours.

Re:the taste? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32378092)

Guys, it would be way cheaper to spend the money on education than by re-engineering our food into suckitude or to enforce some political ideology on all of us.

You severely overestimate the average person's capacity to learn.

Re:the taste? (1)

sourcerror (1718066) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378518)

Guys, it would be way cheaper to spend the money on education than by re-engineering our food into suckitude or to enforce some political ideology on all of us.

You severely overestimate the average person's capacity to learn.

Warning! Smugness overload!

Re:the taste? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32378606)

Seriously. I agree. And it's not the producing companies who should be banned from selling shit food, it's the people who should be banned from eating it! You stupid fucks are pissing in the gene pool. You are stupid, you are lazy, you eat shit food and you have all the rights in the world - including the right to free health care on MY fucking money!

Re:the taste? (1)

pizzach (1011925) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378176)

I sometimes thing a lot of people miss out on the different tastes is life. I wouldn't want my fatty hamburger every day, but it is one taste to experience. I don't want everything to be sweet either. You haven't experienced coffee if you're doing your best to hide the bitter taste with sweeteners and flavors. And no, I don't want cheese on absolutely _everything_. Sometimes I like to experience the taste of the spinach that is under that there cheese as it's really delicious when it's fresh.

I really wonder if society is slowly pushing itself to that people can only eat hamburgers to get their nutrients because people are afraid to stretch their taste palettes..

Re:the taste? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378236)

Olestra was pretty well labeled.

Re:the taste? (1)

MontyApollo (849862) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378478)

I believe the really good McDonald's french fries used to be cooked in tallow (beef fat), and they were later pressured into using trans-fats because at one point some thought it was healthier.

As far as education, maybe we can educate people that animal fat isn't bad or a heart attack on a plate. Humans have eaten animal fat for about 2 million years. We only started eating processed omega-6 vegetable oils and margarine in the last 100 years or so (guess what century heart attacks became an epidemic).

I do question artificial foods like nanofoods that are supposed to make us healthier (like the trans-fats were supposed to) because eating unnatural foods usually come with problems.

plain old low tech food (4, Insightful)

mtrachtenberg (67780) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378048)

I'm lucky enough to live in an area where real food is grown in the ground, pulled out, washed and sold. That means I don't have to buy food where sugar has been replaced by corn syrup (because it's just as good!), oils have been replaced with whatever is cheapest (because it's just as good), cows have been fed corn -- or worse -- instead of wheat (because it's just as good!).

Every time industry tries to improve food, it seems to make things worse.

It's one thing to try to develop high yield crops, but engineering high tech food to reduce Americans' calorie intake is insane, when you could simply put sin taxes on soda.

Re:plain old low tech food (1)

bakawolf (1362361) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378148)

missing the entire point, aren't we?
I want to EAT my cake.

Re:plain old low tech food (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32378616)

missing the entire point, aren't we?

I want to EAT my cake.

The cake is a lie.

Re:plain old low tech food (4, Insightful)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378460)

The crack, mods, the crack! It is not good for you. How is this a troll?

Where exactly has the food industry actually improved our food in terms of quality and taste? All I can see is a constant trend to bland, overprocessed, undifferentiated, utterly boring crap. I am no zealot, you can't escape that all the time, but whenever I got time I try to prepare my own meals from food that, as the parent stated it, was "grown in the ground, pulled out, washed and sold". I don't even care if it is healthier, it is better, it has an actual taste.

So, dear food chemists, you can take your nanotech low-fat mayonnaise and shove it. I'll keep making my own when I need some. Yep, it's full of fat, so is the cauliflower gratin I just had - lightly sauteed cauliflower baked in a mix of egg yolk, butter, creme double and roquefort, add salt, pepper, chili power, saffron and lime juice to taste. That's why I don't gorge myself on it. How about just exerting some self-control instead of lowering calorie intake by pseudo-food substitutes?

Re:plain old low tech food (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32378470)

> cows have been fed corn -- or worse -- instead of wheat (because it's just as good!).

Pretty sure cows don't normally eat wheat.

Re:plain old low tech food (1)

orasio (188021) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378530)

... cows have been fed corn -- or worse -- instead of wheat (because it's just as good!).

No way.
Cows are supposed to eat grass, off the ground.
They do that here in Uruguay, and it's one of the reasons why we get good prices for the beef.

Re:plain old low tech food (1)

sourcerror (1718066) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378594)

1, Feeding cows with wheat is pretty expensive. I don't think it was ever done in history (other than getting rid of old, excess wheat).
2, Please tell me, how is sugar more healthy than corn syrup?

I don't think you have any idea what you're eating, and how it affects your health.

excellent TED talk (5, Informative)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378056)

Here is an excellent TED talk [ted.com] that talks about genetically modified food and the fear it creates. He makes the point that fear of the foods is causing significantly more harm than those foods ever have. He compares it to vaccine boycotters, and how each group gets their sense of danger completely out of proportion (really, the danger of measles is much worse than the danger of the vaccine).

In the case of these foods, there isn't even a danger that it will get out into the wild and reproduce or anything like that. If they turn out bad, we can stop making them, it's as simple as that. The risk is really quite modest.

Re:excellent TED talk (2, Insightful)

raddan (519638) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378360)

I'm not so sure that's true. Vaccines are subject to extensive [cdc.gov] scrutiny, because the risks of something going wrong are high. The CDC protocols ensure that there is a process to eliminate problems, and to identify them early if things start to go wrong. With vaccines, the benefit far outweighs the cost.

There is nothing of the kind in place for food, probably because historically, the public health problems resulting from new food production have been virtually nonexistent. You can hardly compare the two. But we don't really know what the problems will be for transgenic/nano foods. They're too new. It's a small consolation to someone who develops cancer years down the road to say "I guess we should stop making it now." To be honest, I don't know the right answer-- the kind of testing that new drugs get would be prohibitively expensive in the food industry. But it's disingenuous to say that the risk is modest. The risk is unknown.

Re:excellent TED talk (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378498)

I am a biochemist, and as such, I do not see significant danger in most gene-modified food. I am also a gourmet, and as such, I see a loss of diversity and a flood of bland, homogeneous and uninteresting industrial food substitutes. I don't fear the stuff - I despise it for aesthetic reasons.

Re:excellent TED talk (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378574)

Ah, that is too bad then, because genetic modifications have done wonderful things for fruit taste in the last decade or two. It used to be any fruit you got in the supermarket was bland and distasteful. Now you can actually get tomatoes that are full of flavor, for example. Strawberries are a lot better tasting than they used to be as well. To say nothing of peaches.....

The best fruit is still only accessible from your own private tree, but supermarket fruit has definitely seen an increase in quality.

Re:excellent TED talk (4, Insightful)

Panaflex (13191) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378504)

GMO corn and soybeans are regularly found crossing into other fields, sometimes miles away... you can't stop the spread of pollen.

I agree with the speaker on many points, but the honest truth is that humanity is rather poor at predicting long-term dangers in products. Radium, mercury, benzene, tobacco, asbestos and PCB's were all thought to be minimally safe, or containable, or easily managed.

Food is a basic necessity for all humans, and I think we should be making better crops, more nutritional foods, and increasing the sustainability of farming and ranching. But honest labeling should be mandated to allow consumers to make informed choices. Making a bad choice is allowable.

Re:excellent TED talk (1)

orasio (188021) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378576)

You mean that a soy producer, after growing RR soy/RR wheat year after year, applying Roundup every time, for the length of ten years, is free to stop doing that and growing some other grain?
I was under the assumption that it's not that easy to walk away from herbicide-based crops.
Please enlighten me, I'm all ears.

Experimental food is like experimental drugs... (1)

msimm (580077) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378604)

They might feel good, but we'll have to wait and see if/what any long-term effects might be.

Healthier or Frankenfood? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32378070)

Yes. Both.

Eventually we'll have nifty computerized models of the human body that will reasonably accurately predict long-term effects of this kind of manipulation. In the interim, we have our rather primitive models of the human body (we think molecules of this type do X, we think this other type does Y, etc etc). And testing on e.g. animals.

Everything is kind of a crapshoot, though. High Fructose Corn Syrup is an extremely well-known sugar and it's still causing lots of controversy, for example. Even basic wood-grilled food has carcinogens in it. Any way we process food at all changes its properties--that's kinda the point (lest we all eat raw meat and get sick/die of bacterial or parasitic infections all the time).

The trick is to balance the good bits of processing with the bad. Nanofoods have huge potential for both, as does processing in general (and, in general, more processing -> more potential for both good and bad). The raw food advocates are a bit silly in that regard, as they ignore the good parts of processing and focus on the bad--we as a society need to be more balanced about it.

Depends (2, Insightful)

Sperbels (1008585) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378094)

[quote] So can nanotech create a healthier world, or is it just frightening Franken-food?"[/quote] That depends on what's being done. You can't paint the whole thing with the broad brush of nanotech and say it's good or bad. The process you use must be made public so that the end product (and waste products) can be evaluated by the whole community as good or bad.

Re:Depends (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32378420)

Nanotech is very dangerous. It can be abused as potent weapon or as a means of subjugation, even in foods. And there's the threat of simple engineering failure.

Openness and strict control - maybe stricter than with medicine - is required.

The regulatory two-step... (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378146)

I'm going to guess, just for giggles, the following:

1.Any regulation of these novel techniques will be resisted on the grounds of "consumer choice"

2. Any requirement that foodstuffs incorporating these novel techniques be identified as such in any way will be resisted as "confusing" or "alarmist".

3. People will have no idea what they are buying; but their "decisions" will be held up as a vindication for consumer satisfaction with the new techniques.

Re:The regulatory two-step... (2, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378344)

Most of the crap that comes in a cardboard box or plastic container is utter crap to begin with.

If you want to eat "safely" then dont touch anything that in packaging. go to a meat counter where they can cut and wrap your meat, go to a market to get your veggies... Buy flour to make your own pasta and breads if you cant find a good bakery that uses decent ingredients.

Good grief (4, Insightful)

IICV (652597) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378160)

That blog post is entirely useless - all it does is take the New Scientist article, sprinkle in some extra paranoid fear-mongering, mix delicately and bake on high heat for ten minutes.

Why even link to it? Oh right, because "separsons" is probably the same person as the "Sarah Parsons" who wrote the blog post in the first place.

The real issue (1)

dpilot (134227) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378164)

Is it about making food better, or making food more profitable.

Sometimes those two interests align, but many times they don't

Profitability as the highest, if not only motive has done a lot to strengthen the distrust of genetically modified food.

Good Omens (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32378192)

This all reminds me of Good Omens, where one of the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse comes out with a line of diet foods that taste as good as the real thing, but have absolutely no nutritional value - so the people waste away enjoying their favorite foods to the end.

Star Trek food! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32378208)

So that's how Deanna Troi stayed so thin while eating all those double chocolate sundaes. :)

The answer is sadly too clear... (1)

VShael (62735) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378218)

Sure it *could* make healthier and tastier food, but where's the profit in that?

Monsanto could have made genetically modified wheat that produced more food.
But no, that discovery was done by a man who was more interested in solving hunger, than attaining personal profit. (Norman Borlaug, greatest human being in history.)

Monsanto would rather introduce the whole "Defective by design" element into the food chain.

low-fat mayonnaise taste like the real thing (1)

wiredog (43288) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378246)

Yeah, but can they give it the taste and consistency of Kraft Extra Heavy Mayo [kraftfoodservice.com] ? Available from Amazon! [amazon.com]

I have news for you... (3, Informative)

2names (531755) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378270)

It's ALL Franken-food, every damn bit of it. If you don't grow it yourself it has been modified. In some cases, you can't even rely on the purity of the food you grow yourself because the seeds or starter plants have been modified.

I'll take a nano burger (2, Funny)

PPH (736903) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378276)

Could you super size that for me?

Anyone remember spermicidal GMO Corn? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32378284)

Epicyte created corn in 2001 that has spermicidal properties.

In San Diego, a small, privately-owned bio tech company, Epicyte, held a press conference in September 2001. Epicyte reported that they had successfully created the ultimate GMO crop-- contraceptive corn. To do it they had taken antibodies from women with a rare condition known as immune infertility, isolated the genes that regulated the manufacture of those infertility antibodies, and, using genetic engineering techniques, had inserted the genes into ordinary corn plants.

“We have a hothouse filled with corn plants that make anti-sperm antibodies,” boasted Epicyte President, Mitch Hein.

Lovely.... I am sure the population control advocates will demand this be given as part of food aid to developing countries.

diet food? (3, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378288)

Diet food already tastes like the real thing. All my veggies taste real.

All my whole grain foods all taste real...

Oh wait, simulated chemical created chocolate cake and high fructose corn syrup laden junk? Is that what they are trying to make taste better?

How about simply not eating that trash?

Re:diet food? (0, Flamebait)

bnenning (58349) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378528)

Food purity is the new "I don't have a TV".

The first Borg spawn... (1)

Hylandr (813770) | more than 4 years ago | (#32378598)

We are the Borg. Lower your proteins and surrender your nucleotides. We will add our biological and technological distinctiveness to your own. Your food-culture will mutate into random and exciting directions. Resistance is futile.

- Dan.
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