Genetically-modified food is one of the most controversial subjects today. Not only are regulations loose and manufacturers getting away with not labeling them, they’re being approved at an alarmingly swift rate without the appropriate long-term health assessment. The Food and Drug Administration recently approved of two GMO foods, potatoes and apples, as safe and equally nutritious as conventional varieties, and they’re pushing to get these items to a grocery store near you.
The Approval of GMO Foods Apples and Potatoes
The new approval is covering six varieties of potatoes and two varieties of apples.  The potatoes come from Idaho from the J. R. Simplot Co., and the apples come from Canadian company Okanagan Specialty Fruits, Inc. Fortunately for the health food movement, McDonald’s, a long-time client of J. R. Simplot Co., is no longer purchasing from the company, opting out of using GMO potatoes for its food.
ConAgra is another big-name company that supplies potatoes for restaurants all across the world, and it is also in line with consumer demand for non-GMO potato varieties. While french fries and hash browns are certainly not health fare, it does go to show how companies listen and respond to the desires of consumers. In order to keep up the fight against GMOs and keep them out of our food supply, we need to continue advocating for labeling laws that will help us, as consumers, differentiate between natural food and Frankenfood.
What You Can Do
Along with contacting the FDA and urging them to look into labeling laws, there are a few things you can do to get the ball moving. Buying organic as much as possible shows companies that consumers are demanding more natural, non-GMO foods. Consumer research into buying trends weigh heavily on the actions of companies in producing their products, so vote with your pocketbook by buying as many of your products as natural as possible.
-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM
Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) let down U.S. apple growers and the public by wasting resources on a useless and risky food. To make matters worse, these new genetically engineered apples are NOT required to be labeled and consumers will not know that the sliced apples they are feeding to their children have undergone genetic modification. What’s more is that this genetically engineered specialty fruit has been created to prevent apples from browning over time, as if that is an important issue worth harming the environment and consumer health.
They are called “Arctic Apples” and have the ability to resist browning when sliced, something apple growers and consumers have been able to deal with forever. This is a mere cosmetic trait which can mislead consumers into thinking they’re eating a fresh apple when in fact they are eating apples on the verge of rotting.
The USDA’s environmental review received 73,000 comments that overwhelmingly opposed the commercialization of Arctic Apples. This decision marks the first approval of an aesthetically-improved genetically engineered food and will expand the reach of GMO products into the produce aisle, which currently only offers a small number of GMO foods.
The USDA has neglected to look at the full range of risks from these apples. In its environmental assessment, the USDA glossed over the possibility of unintentional effects associated with the technology used to engineer these apples, potential economic impacts on the U.S. and international apple market, effects of potential contamination for non-GMO and organic apple growers and the impact of the non-browning gene silencing which also can weaken plant defenses and plant health.
The new method used to modify the apple is known as RNA interference. RNA is similar to DNA and deals specially with gene coding and regulation. Mounting evidence has shown that meddling with the genes can result in unintended effects within the plant and within those who eat the plant.
The genes altered in this apple are heavily involved in a plant’s natural defense system against pests and disease. This could lead to apple trees that are more susceptible and therefore require more chemicals to produce a crop. It begs the popular question, why is our food being made and modified by chemical pesticide and herbicide companies? That is a huge conflict of interest in and of itself. Besides, this wouldn’t be the first time an unintended result from genetic engineering resulted in an exponential increase in the amount of poison sprayed on the food supply.
The amount of Roundup used on the biggest three GE crops has increased 1000% from what it was before the introduction of genetically engineered seeds.
One huge con to genetically engineered food is that the crops have been known to infect organic crops on the other side of town through pollen drift. This can spread like wildfire and devastate the local organic and even conventional industry. This is a major reason the domestic apple industry opposes the new franken-apple which will be marketed as Arctic Granny and Arctic Golden.
Some food companies have stated that they would not sell Arctic Apples. The U.S. Apple Association, Washington Apple Commission and other grower groups have spoken up and pointed out the negative impact GMO apples could have on the apple industry and environment. Even GMO-peddlers Gerber and McDonald’s stated that they would not use GMO apples in their food products.
The bottom line is that the GMO apple is a risk that is unnecessary. Cosmetic issues should be the last priority for an industry that claims they want to end world hunger, which of course is a lie. The world has enough food, people are starving because there isn’t enough money to pay for it. They really just want to sell more pesticide.
The biotech industry is in a prime position. They modify the food supply which creates crops dependent on more and more poisonous pesticides and herbicides, have monetary ties to giant pharmaceutical corporations that bank off of sick people, and all the while they are the ones selling these very same pesticides and herbicides, which make people sick.
Consumers and the industry have dealt with browning apples successfully forever. The USDA has let down hard-working farmers who go back generations in America, again. They have let down the everyday consumer who wants to know what they are eating. They have jeopardized the environment and the health of the very citizens these alphabet governmental agencies are supposedly meant to protect. And for what? A prettier apple? Yeah, one that tastes like shit because it’s seconds away from rotting. But you won’t know that until you bite into it.