Does the world really need a new spin on the basic apple? Some folks at Okanagan Specialty Fruit think so. I suspect they have spent untold resources developing the world’s first genetically modified apple. Back in November, I posted Let’s Give Eve a Better Apple? It explained that 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!”
Well, apparently many consumers and apple growers don’t agree. The original U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) 30 day comment period produced thousands of comments urging the department not to deregulate this apple that doesn’t turn brown. Parents are concerned they will end up in apple sauce and sliced apples destined for their precious children’s meals. The US apple industry is wary of contamination of the fruit as well as contamination of the brand. Apples are about as pure and basic as Adam and Eve. Are we really willing to tarnish this notion to forego a little of nature’s basic color habits? Besides, in my mind, an apple that’s brown means it’s beginning to rot and should be eaten quickly and with exquisite pleasure. I don’t want my apple falsely showing its youth when in reality it’s been under the knife a few times.
GMO Free USA posted an interesting alert that the EU is poised to reject this apple due to human health and environmental concerns. It turns out these apples contain the Kanamycin antibiotic marker gene which tests have suggested could promote antibiotic resistance. This puts apple producers in the Northwest particularly at risk of losing more of the vitally important export market. Apple exports to the EU have already declined by 60% over the last 5 years due to different regulatory standards and requirements for pesticides and food additives, and this could be the final straw. The Sustainable Pulse has an excellent in depth article about the antibiotic marker gene Kanamycin and its ramifications on US trade.
The commonly held opinion is that this apple will be approved for production. Why do regulations in other countries prohibit materials that the US happily approves at the behest of Big Ag? It’s time to take our food back and demand no new Genetically Modified Foods get approved until more health and environmental testing has been done.
Because of the overwhelming response and the controversial nature of the decision, APHIS has reopened the comment period. We all have until January 30th 2014 to submit comments on whether this non- browning apple should be grown in our backyard.
To submit comments to the Okanagan docket (APHIS-2012-0025) using the comment portal www.Regulations.gov, please use the link below:
Dear reader, you have until January 30th to let AHPIS know how you feel about an arctic apple vortex descending on your world. Don’t let this storm take you by surprise.