It's going to be weird seeing 3-year-old tomatoes with fewer wrinkles, more firmness and fewer brown spots than I, but I'd better get used to it.

Genetic agriculture is here.By 1993, look for "termitomato" - the fruit that has the juiciness of a Kitty Kelley bio . . . the flavor of a Walton picnic . . . and the longevity of Dick Clark. Thanks to the efforts of scientists, women will no longer buy fruits and vegetables that deteriorate before they can get them home. They will also be buying food that is more nutritious and resistant to insects and drought.

If all of this sounds too good to be true, it is. My family has always accused me of having an Agatha Christie kitchen, one that is full of unsolved mysteries and intrigue. (And that's just the leftovers.) But when biotechnology gets through with us, we won't know what we're eating unless it wears a name tag.

Potatoes will have chicken genes added to increase disease resistance. Tofu will contain a cattle gene so it will taste like beef. Tomatoes will have flounder genes added to reduce freeze damage.

Fooling around with genetics always presents more problems than it solves. With food that won't spoil or discolor, how are housewives supposed to know when to throw leftovers away?

How does this scenario grab you? Your husband stands staring into a refrigerator that is bulging with little dabs of food.

"How old is this tossed salad?"

"Twenty years, give or take a few months."

"Isn't it time we pitched it?"

"Someone might eat it. Let's give it another five years."

"How will we know when it dies?"

"I'm not sure."

The test I'm really intrigued with is the low-cholesterol pig that will have more muscle, less fat and will grow faster. When asked how this is brought about, Richard D. Godown, president of the Washington-based Industrial Biotechnology Association, joked, "They don't feed it sweets and they don't let it go to the movies."

I covered a story once about a group of pigs that lost body fat by jogging. Scientists lined them up on a track and they ran their little fat legs off, racing around it. The only way they could get them to run, however, was to feed them Fig Newtons at the finish line, which sort of defeated the purpose.

No one is talking - but what do you want to bet, a low-cholesterol pig will taste like oat bran.

1992 Erma Bombeck

Distributed by Universal Press Syndicate