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No more cheating!

Tomatoes face DNA testing at competition to determine sauce of origin

A UK flower show is using DNA technology to ensure a £1,000 giant tomato prize is not won by a cheating grower. Organisers of the Harrogate Autumn Flower Show have responded to competitors’ concerns that an unscrupulous gardener might sneak in a rogue variety of tomato to the championship.

The show is running a Gigantomo class, with a £1,000 top prize sponsored by a mail order plant specialist, which means entries must be from that strain of the plant.

So organisers will use Dutch specialists to DNA test plants to make sure the entries are what they claim to be. The winner could scoop a further £5,000 if the heaviest fruit sets a new world record. The new class for Gigantomo tomatoes, a beefsteak variety developed for its huge red fruits, was launched in January with the final weigh-in on Friday.

Show director Nick Smith said: “Giant veg growing is great fun and tremendously popular with our visitors, but it also has a serious side, especially with such a big prize at stake. When experienced growers contacted us to express concern about making sure that the new class for Gigantomo would feature only specimens from that variety, we set out to find a way of being as certain as we possibly can that the winner has the right pedigree.”


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