|June 30th, 2012|
Reporters are claiming that researchers working on improving the taste of tomatoes are not allowed to actually taste them:
Though the scientists were not even able to taste their own creation because of U.S. Department of Agriculture regulations, they could show through chemical tests that the sugar levels were 40% higher in their engineered fruit. Chemicals called carotenoids, which also significantly contribute to flavor, were more than 20% higher. (source)(They're trying to figure out why breeding for outward appearance has made tomatoes less tasty, and whether there's a good way to fix that without compromising the uniform color consumers prefer.)
I can see why we should be cautious about tasting experimental foods, and measurements of sugar content are easier to transport and last longer than actual tomatoes, but this seems excessive.
Unfortunately the paper is paywalled and I can't find the appropriate DoA regulations. In the past when I've looked into something that seems this stupid there are often good reasons behind it, and there may be again in this case.