Blue Strawberries Raise More GMO Questions

By Dani Stone for

The GMO folks are at it again and this time they haven’t engineered a giant raisin or crossed a tangerine with a grapefruit (tangelo), they’ve created a blue strawberry. It wasn’t engineered for shock value, although it does look like something Willy Wonka would have at his factory. It was actually created to withstand freezing temperatures and you’ll never believe what they used to make it blue.

For those of you unfamiliar with the lingo, GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism. GMO is achieved by adding and deleting genes of different species of plants to engineer a new one.

Genetically modified food has been available for years in select grocery stores including over-sized strawberries and packages of pluots (plums and apricots) to name a few. Okay, let’s get back to that blue strawberry.

How did scientists make it blue and why, aside from the cool factor? When scientists discovered the Arctic Flounder Fish produces antifreeze to protect itself in frigid water, they wondered what would happen if they introduced the gene that produces the antifreeze in to a strawberry plant.  They didn’t set out to make it blue, it just happened that way. Something else happened, too. They discovered the blue strawberry plant can withstand freezing temperatures. An important discovery meaning it won’t turn to mush when placed in the freezer. This means the strawberries could be stored longer, increasing their shelf life.

There are conflicting opinions about the nutritional value of GMOs. At, Cynthia Bu Jawdeh said, “Well there are several negative effects that are still being studied…,” in response to questions about the safety of the blue strawberries. “Some of the basics are the arousal of new allergies (in response to the new proteins being formed), new toxins produced by plants that can have a negative effect on humans or the environment, [antibiotic] resistance, etc.”

While many consumers are justifiably wary of genetically modified food citing a lack of FDA regulation and possibly hard-to-detect allergens, is it possible there are more “greater good” qualities to using GMO techniques than just freakishly large colorful fruit and vegetables? That’s possible, but only if you can answer why we need strawberries that withstand freezing temperatures. Strawberries are a summer fruit, coming in to season in June, when the sun is bright and the temperatures warm. Nature has already dictated when we should eat these fruits, but do you love them enough to stock up for winter?

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Son Y.
Son Y.about a year ago

Sorry, but it seems creepy. If I wanted strawberries off season, I'd have jam. Nature already gives an abundance, and we already have ways to preserve food.

Fi T.
Past Member 3 years ago


Sen Senz
Sayenne H3 years ago

Hoax. but they do look kinda cool. Just the thing, you can kill people with antifreeze. There was this woman on crime investigation show that poisoned her husband with it. I think I won't eat them just look at them as some form of art. ;)

Teresa W.
Teresa W3 years ago

Blue strawberries?????

Sue H.
Sue H3 years ago

Must not have been a viable idea because I've yet to see a blue strawberry. Why would you want one??

Robert Vincelette

It would be a shame if after extensive trials (perhaps human trials that, if there are health risks, food giant executives could be test subjects while in prison for causing the obesity epidemic and spreading misinformation to enhance their economic interests) blue strawberries turned out to be unhealthy. The novelty of such things is fun.

Bella G.
Bella G.4 years ago

This makes me hungry for some fruits for some reason. O_O Am i the only one

Harshiita Sharma
Harshita Sharma5 years ago

Hate Gmo products!

Carolyn S.
Carolyn Shimek6 years ago

There are no genetically modified strawberries commercially grown and shipped. The scientific paper cited here is from 1998. Some scientists attempted this gene insertion, but it was not viable for regular production. New varieties of strawberries are developed through good old fashioned cross pollination. Different varieties of strawberries are developed for different climates and growing conditions. These varieties are developed using conventional breeding methods that involving selecting two parents and crossing them using their flower.

Ariane Liberty
Ariane Orr6 years ago

Its not a hoax, here is the scientific article: