Is Your Kid’s Favorite Breakfast Fruit About To Go Extinct?
Bananas are the Derek Jeter of fruits; you take him for granted for your whole life, but when you need a hit in the bottom of the seventh in a tied playoff game, you’re glad he’s in the lineup. And then, one year, he isn’t and the Yankees can’t even win the Wild Card. What does this have to do with you and your kid? You might not be able to call on bananas to save meal time much longer.
According to a new study in the journal PLOS Pathogens, a fungus known as Tropical Race 4 is creeping from Asia to Latin America, where the majority of the world’s bananas are grown. That fungus is a mutation of the dreaded Panama Disease, which killed off a banana known as the “Gros Michel” back in the early 20th Century. The Gros Michel preceded the Cavendish, which is the most popular banana on the planet by a wide margin — mostly because Big Banana made it that way through an extremely efficient process of cloning that produces remarkably consistent quality. Unfortunately, the same process ensures the Cavendish is really, really not resistant to mutated Panama Disease funguses.
Banana snobs, much like Yankees fans, go on and on about the superiority of the Gros Michel to the Cavendish, which is considered bland and poorly textured by comparison. But creating a fungus-resistant banana to compete with Tropical Race 4, likely through the use of GMOs, will probably be even worse. And, when you wind up with the Hanley Ramirez of fruits on your breakfast table, expect you kid to eat fewer bananas and throw more of them (which, incidentally, they’ll be better at that Ramirez is).