A Canadian company by the name of Okanagan Specialty Fruits created a stir in recent years with the announcement of its new genetically engineered apple, one that was countered with a flurry of petition signings and a backlash by pro-natural food groups on the Web.
At risk is the sanctity of the United States of Ameria’s signature fruit, in large part because the new GMO apples will not be labeled and won’t be traced once they enter the food supply.
The new GM apples were roundly rejected by many in the food industry, but for cafeteria services and other large food conglomerates, they may be used after all, mostly because of their “non-browning” trait (one that can be created through traditional crossbreeding, but in this case is done through genetic engineering) allows them to last longer even after they would otherwise be expired.
Grocery store shoppers will also need to look out for the new apples, especially considering they’re about to hit store shelves in select locations.
New “Arctic” GMO Apple on the Way
According to a new report from Capital Press, the new GMO apples are expected to go on sale in February. They will be branded as “Arctic Apples” and will be sold in pre-sliced packages in 10 stores in the Midwest.
The apples will not show any signs of rotting for up to three weeks, because of the browning gene that has been “silenced” by Okanagan scientists. Customers may potentially buy rotting apples without even knowing it.
Unfortunately for customers, the names of the stores have not been disclosed by the parent company, perhaps because of concerns that customers may reject them. The packages may include the Arctic logo, but not a GMO label because of the lack of mandatory labeling in the United States (due to millions in spending by Monsanto, the Grocery Manufacturers Association and others).
Because of a lack of independent or long-term safety testing, the health effects of eating the new apples are mostly unknown.
GMO Apple Company Cashes In
Just two weeks after their approval, Okanagan cashed in, to the tune of $41 million dollars after its sale was completed to another company.
Now the controversial unlabeled GMO apples are starting to make their way to consumers, whether they like it or not. In the fall, about 1,000 to 1,200 boxes (40 pounds each) were expected to be sold in the Pacific Northwest.
To avoid the apples, it’s important to buy organic whenever possible, and to check packages and/or stickers to make sure they don’t say “Arctic” anywhere on the label. The three biggest varieties to watch out for include Fuji, Golden Delicious, and Granny Smith for now, with a Gala variety likely to be up for approval in 2018.
The second trial phase is happening now. Will you be an experiment? Let us know in the comments below, or on our Facebook page (you can also learn more by checking out Capital Press here).