(NaturalHealth365) As of February 10, GMO apples are due to hit store shelves in the United States – with a deliberately non-informative label.
The move is not so much a commercial roll-out as a cautious trial balloon – the “non-browning” Artic apple, developed by Canadian company Okanagan Specialty Fruits, will be offered in only 10 selected, unnamed stores across the American Midwest.
GMO apple will not be identified as such – for fear of “demonization”
Despite a statement in which the apple’s developer promised to “label and brand” the apple, it will not be labeled as a GMO – because the developer of the apple, OSF founder and president Neal Carter, doesn’t want it to be “demonized” with a “big GM sticker.”
So, only tech-savvy customer will be privy to the information. To find out the GM status, consumers will be forced to use a scanner code on the package – which takes them to a website.
The browning of apples is a normal, natural chemical reaction, caused by an enzyme called polyphenol oxidase. With the Arctic apple, the gene for oxidase has been blocked, or “silenced.” The apples will be sold sliced – presumably to showcase their lack of oxidation.
Consumer alert: GMOs are associated with major health problems
GMOs have been linked to infertility, immune system problems, accelerated aging, and changes in the gastrointestinal system – to name just a few of the dangers. According to The Institute for Responsible Technology, a consumer advocate group, FDA scientists have repeatedly warned that GM foods can produce ‘unpredictable and dangerous consequences,’ with the creation of new proteins in GM foods triggering allergies, nutritional problems – and new diseases.
Some natural health advocates have theorized that this limited sale of GM apples is an experiment on the human population – designed by the powers that be – to see if and when adverse reactions occur.
No protection in sight from U.S. government agencies
The U.S. Department of Agriculture approved the Arctic apple in February of last year, claiming it was unlikely to pose a plant pest risk to other plants in the U.S., and would not have a significant impact on the human environment. Within weeks, Canada followed suit, with Health Canada claiming that there was no evidence that the apple would affect allergies, or that its nutritional content differed from any other conventional apple.
The FDA is not required to approve genetically engineered crops for consumption. However, there is a voluntary safety review process – which Okanagan chose to have the apple undergo.
The U.S. Apple Association has taken a neutral stance, saying that consumers deserve a choice, and that ultimately the marketplace will decide if there is a demand for non-browning apples.
Genetically altered apples offered for sale despite consumer outcry
According to OSF founder and president Neal Carter – who developed the apple – the Arctic apple is the “most tested and scrutinized…probably the safest apple in the world.”
But environmentalists and GM opponents – such as Tony Beck of the Society for GE Free BC — beg to differ.
Beck notes concerns by scientists of “serious health and environmental concerns about GMO crops,” and warns of the possibility of contamination from the GM apple, with new generations cross-pollinating with conventional apples.
Although Carter dismisses these concerns as “pseudoscience” and “paranoia,” it is clear that a vast majority of the public remains concerned about genetically modified foods. In a poll commissioned by the British Columbia Fruit Grower’s Association, 69 percent opposed approval of the GM apple.
And, the Canadian Bio-Technology Action Network – which represents 17 different advocacy groups concerned about GMOs in foods – took their objections on the road, visiting 32 communities across British Columbia and Alberta to speak out against the Arctic apple.
In a way, the “Arctic apple” name is fitting, with natural health advocates and environmentalists maintaining that it will be a bitterly cold day down below before they eat – or accept – this harmful food product.
Meanwhile, the U.S. debut of the Arctic Golden Delicious apple is on its way. Let the buyer beware.
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