The first foodstuff genetically modified to improve the ethical behaviours of consumers could be on sale later this year. Moral Maize, secretly developed on secret research sites around Watsonville, Oklahoma, deep in the US bible belt, will make those who eat it better, kinder, more patient and less prone to anger, say its producers. "And it'll keep them folks regular" said CEO Burt Franks.
"You'll see the jolly green giant looking more contemplative and less like an amiable version of the Incredible Hulk," said marketing and brand manager Pete Norman. The message is less virility and strength, more compassion and peacefulness. He'll look a bit like Jesus, a bit like Buddah and a bit like Muhammad Ali. Or on the UK can, Thora Hurd."
The painstaking process of moralising the maize meant observing the ethical behaviour of thousands of Oklahoma subjects each of whom only ate certain strains of the corn over a period of three years. Scientific Manager Jake Lamb explained "At first this was tough, because the first trends we spotted tended towards identifying immoral maize, with test subjects exhibiting sociopathic tendencies. And we apologise for the events that took place at Watsonville High School. And we'll be offering creamed corn products for life to survivors there. Terms and conditions apply"
But once the team had identified the malign maize strains they made short work of identifying the good corn, and quickly added salt, sugar and permitted stabilisers.
BBC Radio 4's Michael Buerk was quick to criticise the new food. "First I find it distasteful that these properties be assigned to a foodstuff much of which appears to remain totally unchanged after passing through the digestive system," he told the World at One. "But more importantly, the ethical issues around creating behaviour changing roughage of any kind deserves the kind of critical scrutiny my team relish. Please don't put that bit in as it sounds like a weak pun. The bit about relish. The rest sounded good, I thought."
Foorcorps Inc, the company behind the new product have had mixed fortunes with philosophically and ethically modified foods. It's non dairy creamer of human kindness sells well in some territories, but it's Schroedinger's Cat Food, aimed at pet owning quantum theorists has performed poorly, achieving exactly 50% of its target sales. "It requires a lot more thought," said a spokesman.