GMO Apples…really?

Are people asking for apples that don’t turn brown? If so, why? Seems simple and quick enough to me to use an apple slicer and corer when you want to eat an apple (like the one displayed in the top picture; bottom picture is a non-GMO and GMO apple).

I heard the story last Friday about the USDA approving GMO apples that won’t turn brown. I just caught part of the story as I turned on the radio in the middle of it, yet enough to know that I had to learn more.

My gut instinct was to be appalled by this idea. When I told my husband about it over dinner I could tell it was making me angry. Maybe, you are thinking, that is an extreme reaction to this. I was a bit surprised myself at how upset I became as I told him about it.

After reading and listening to the information on the links below, I learned that the big reason for these apples is for the food service industry. Companies that provide already-sliced apples see great benefit to the apples that will not turn brown because of the aesthetic appearance, as well as the belief that less apples will be wasted.

I still disagree with the creation of GMO apples. I have two immediate concerns.

  • How can we know if there will be any negative, long-term effects from eating the GMO apples?
  • How can we guarantee that the GMO apple trees will not cross-pollinate with non-GMO apple trees?

It is interesting to know that the US approved these apples while Canada has not, yet these GMO apples, known as Arctic apples, were developed by a Canadian company. Come to learn that these apple trees have already been growing for 12 years and the research for these non-browning apples started in 1997. Wow!

The company says the risk of cross-pollination is almost non-existent. And if it did happen, that apple trees are created through grafting and not from the seeds of apples.

I am not a scientist, so I can’t argue with the statements the company makes. Regardless, I am still concerned, even after reading information on their website. I think we need to stop messing with Mother Nature and let our food be our food without scientific intervention.

Since GMO foods do not need to be labeled in the US, paying attention to the name of the apple you purchase will become critical to ensure you are buying the non-GMO Granny Smith opposed to the GMO Arctic Granny Smith.

The Environmental Working Group released a blog about this today. They have a prepared on-line letter that takes less than 2 minutes for you to send to your senators and members of Congress to support a bill requiring mandatory GMO labeling.

Here are articles and an audio about the GMO apples:

by Michele Spear