There’s a new apple variety out there created in laboratories that could be coming to your store in early 2014. It looks and smells like an apple but with one distinct difference, the molecules that express its genes have been tinkered with.
The creators of this genetically engineered apple hail it as “Nature at Its Best”. They go on to say “We all love apples! Until they turn brown, that is. Arctic® apples are everything you love about apples, without the “yuck” factor…”
With this apple, I say the “yuck” factor is already built into the very biological molecules, its Ribonucleic acid (RNA)! The biotech industry, in its relentless quest to control our food, has developed an apple that won’t turn brown and will defend itself against pests. A new, almost entirely untested genetic modification technology, called RNA interference, or double strand RNA (dsRNA), is responsible for this modern food “miracle”. Repeatedly scientists have warned that genetic manipulation poses health risks, as the manipulated RNA gets into our digestive systems and bloodstreams. Read more from Mother Earth News.
Where can we expect to find these apples?
The target market for these apples is pre-sliced apples served in schools and fed to our children in brightly packaged single servings. We can also expect it to end up in apple sauce and baby food. All the apple treats our children love may now be genetically engineered without proper independent testing or labeling. You won’t even know what you’re feeding your children.
Are these apples safe?
Independent studies have found that there are risks associated with this new kind of genetically modified organism(GMO). Most existing GMOs are designed to make new proteins, but these new GMOs make dsRNA in order to alter the way genes are expressed. Recent research has shown that dsRNAs can transfer from plants to humans and other animals through food. They can also potentially be transferred into people by inhaling dust from the plant or by absorption through the skin. While RNA is a normal component of all cells, in dsRNA form it can have effects that depend on the species and tissues exposed to it. You can read more on GM Free cymru in the paper “New kinds of GM plants and pesticides are not being assessed for safety.”
Who in the world wants this?
Farmers are concerned that this “one bad apple” could spoil the whole bunch, harming sales here and abroad. Christian Schlect, president of the Northwest Horticultural Council, which represents the tree-fruit industry in and around Washington State, which produces about 60 percent of the nation’s apples, told the New York Times, “We don’t think it’s in the best interest of the apple industry of the United States to have that product in the marketplace at this time.” This apple could contaminate organic and non-GMO apple crops alike, and it could possibly cause valuable export markets to reject U.S. apples as has happened in past with GMO wheat and rice. Read more from Friends of the Earth.
Where are we now?
Arctic Apples have been in field trials in Canada and the US for years. They can’t be grown commercially in the United States until USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) approves them. Just last week APHIS published a notice on the Federal Register making their plant pest risk assessment (PPRA) and environmental assessment (EA) available for public comment. This is the second round of public comments on the Arctic Apple. In 2012, in the first round of public comments, 1,935 comments were filed, overwhelmingly in opposition. This final 30-day public comment period began Nov. 8 and will conclude on Dec. 9. It’s important to make your voice heard if you are opposed to this new apple being introduced into our food supply. You can make a comment here.
It’s time to get the biotech scientists out of the garden and out of our food supply. Temptation is a sweet apple that won’t turn brown. Let’s heed Eve’s warning and not get fooled again. The biotech industry is selling us a deal that’s too good to be true.