n. Food derived from genetically modified (GM) plants and animals.

Example Citation:
"It's only natural that we cringe at the artificial: It goes against the grain. So it's no real wonder that many people are feeling uncomfortable about the recent proliferation of genetically engineered crops. In the last few months, protests have sprung up all over Europe, and the French have taken to calling these products 'Frankenfood.' "
—K.C. Cole, "Genetically Altered Food Unnatural? Not Really," Los Angeles Times, October 21, 1999

Earliest Citation:
To the Editor:

'Tomatoes May Be Dangerous to Your Health' (Op-Ed, June 1) by Sheldon Krimsky is right to question the decision of the Food and Drug Administration to exempt genetically engineered crops from case-by-case review. Ever since Mary Shelley's baron rolled his improved human out of the lab, scientists have been bringing just such good things to life. If they want to sell us Frankenfood, perhaps it's time to gather the villagers, light some torches and head to the castle.

Newton Center, Mass., June 2, 1992
—Paul Lewis, "Mutant Foods Create Risks We Can't Yet Guess," The New York Times, June 16, 1992

This word became popular soon after it appeared in a letter to the editor of The New York Times, as shown in the first use, above.

Interestingly, Mr. Lewis also seems to be the coiner of the word schmooseoisie. Note, however, that Mr. Lewis' letter is not the earliest print usage of Frankenfood. Here's one from a few months earlier, albeit with a totally different sense:

"It's almost as if a Dr. Frankenfood has created a customer creature with superhuman demands: To eat appetizers for dinner, entrees for appetizers, ethnic foods for breakfast and breakfast any time of day."
—Nancy Ross Ryan, "Reinventing the meal," Restaurants & Institutions, March 11, 1992

Related Words: