Review: Food Fray by Lisa H. Weasel

by Kim on January 4, 2011 · 10 comments

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Title: Food Fray: Inside the Controversy Over Genetically Modified Food
Author: Lisa H. Weasel
Genre: Nonfiction
Year: 2009
Acquired: From the publisher for review consideration.
Rating: ★★★½☆

Review: The thing I remember most clearly about Food Fray by molecular biologist Lisa H. Weasel is that it made me both curious about and angry with Monsanto, a “U.S.-based multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation” (thanks, Wikipedia), that seems to have it’s tentacles in everything I love to eat.

From previous food reading, I knew Monsanto was a bit shifty, but the company has really exceeded my expectations: patenting genetically modified foods then suing family farmers after those genetically modified seeds happened to pollinate their corn and pushing for a ban on labeling modified milk. Monsanto is messing with milk, and I love milk!

Anyway, if any of what I just wrote seems interesting, then you may enjoy Food Fray. The book is a short history of genetically modified foods — foods that have only been around for the last decade or so — that does a great job of tying together the science and the politics of how and why food is the way it is. The book starts with with the history of the debate, the rise of “Frankenfood” in Europe, the challenges and benefits of biotech’s effort to save the world, and what the future of genetically modified food might hold. I thought Weasel was relatively balanced about the issues and gives a thorough overview for newbies like me.

In general, I thought Food Fray was a bit dry. It’s not the kind of nonfiction that I’d recommend if the topic sounds boring to you, but it is the kind of book that teaches a lot about an issue in a manageable package. So if genetically modified food sparks your interest, then I recommend giving the book a try. Fair warning, it will probably make you really, really dislike Monsanto, or at least wish you could know all of what exactly they’re up to.

Other Reviews:

If you have reviewed this book, please leave a link to the review in the comments and I will add your review to the main post. All I ask is for you to do the same to mine — thanks!

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