The agricultural biotech company Okanagan Specialty Fruits is attempting to break into the market with a novel genetically modified (GM) product. “The Arctic Apple,” as it’s called, is an apple that does not turn brown when sliced or bruised.
Although Americans have been eating GM foods since the 1990s, those items have mainly been found in processed foods. The Arctic Apple, then, could be one of the first unprocessed GM products that people bite into — something that has already stirred much controversy from the anti-GM activists.
“The hysteria surrounding GM foods is absolutely unwarranted,” says ACSH’s Dr. Ruth Kava. Groups including the U.S. Apple Association, which represents the American apple industry, have already come out against the Arctic Apple, even though it poses no health threat to the public. “Their opposition is, in fact, based more on market competition fears than true anti-GM concerns,” she added.
Despite the opposition, Neal Carter, founder and president of Okanagan Specialty Fruits, is determined to get these apples to the market. He believes that the non-browning apples could greatly improve the economic outlook for the declining U.S. apple industry.
“Not only are these apples totally safe,” comments ACSH’s Dr. Elizabeth Whelan, “they could make it more likely that people will eat apples on a more regular basis, since they would be more visually appealing.”
Adds ACSH’s Dr. Gilbert Ross, “Since the mid-nineties, genetically modified foods have been consumed in increasing amounts with no harm to humans or the environment, while farmers and consumers reap many benefits. What’s more, GM foods have undergone much more rigorous testing than conventional products that reach supermarket shelves.”