Friday, July 13, 2012

A GMO Apple a Day

Your apple a day to keep the doctor away could be turning GMO very soon. Okanagan Specialty Fruits, a small company based in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia, is trying to bring to market a genetically engineered apple that does not turn brown when sliced or bruised. They are calling it the Arctic Apple.

Americans have been eating GMO foods since the 1990s, but they have mainly been in the form of processed foods, which can easily be avoided. This apple could become one of the first genetically engineered fruits that we actually bite into. I can't help thinking of Eve in the Garden of Eden. What are we doing messing with the apple again?

Neal Carter, the founder and president of the company turning out this new apple says a whole apple is "for many people too big a commitment. If you had a bowl of apples at a meeting, people wouldn't take an apple out of the bowl. But if you had a plate of apple slices, everyone would take a slice." Rather then designing a new apple, commitment phobic businessmen (or women) could easily go into their office kitchen, slice up some apples and sprinkle them with lemon juice. Then they could all get a piece of the action.

Lemon juice has long been used by mothers putting sliced apples into their child's lunchbox. McDonald's has been adding sliced apples to their Happy Meals for quite some time. They often coat them with vitamin C and calcium to prevent browning and preserve crispness. Lucy Sharratt, a coordinator for the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, points out that genetic engineering was "designed to turn the apple into an industrialized product" that could be sold in plastic bags instead of as a whole fresh fruit.

Not only should we be concerned about the unknown health risks of genetically modified fruits, but with this new apple we get to add more packaging to our foods. Yippee! And as for the fruit as a whole, this makes me think of the tasteless mealy tomato that graces our supermarkets these days. They may look perfect and pretty, but they don't taste all that great. I honestly hope we do not allow them to ruin our apples, too.

To read more click here- New York Times Article: That Fresh Look, Genetically Buffed

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