Food goes bad. Milk spoils, bread molds, avocados rot, and apples brown. Throughout the years, this has become a nuisance for big food corporations. Food is now scientifically-altered to grow bigger and ‘better,’ look prettier, last longer, taste a certain way, etc.
But should we care if our food is changing? The short answer is YES.
“Nearly every independent animal feeding safety study on GM foods shows adverse or unexplained effects,” notes Jeffrey Smith, founder of the Institute for Responsible Technology. “But we were not supposed to know about these problems…the biotech industry works overtime to try to hide them.”
Researchers have now linked GMO foods to potential health risks such as allergies, autism, and cancer. Dr. Irina Ermakova, PhD, a senior researcher at the Russian Academy of Sciences, revealed to the European Congress of Psychiatry that when male rats were fed GM soy, they showed signs of anxiety and aggression, while those fed non-GMO soy did not. The same was reported in GM soy-fed female rats and their offspring. Even more disturbing was that over 50 percent of the offspring from the GMO-fed group died within three weeks, while only 10 percent of the group fed natural soy died.
There’s a neverending amount of information at our fingertips to see how controversial GMO foods are, and this is just a brief outtake, yet companies continue to turn their heads and push their luck.
Were you worried about your apples turning brown too quickly? Well, now there’s non-browning apples. The company Arctic Apples is proud to present their non-browning apples made from a petri dish. A statement on their website reads:
“How’d we ‘make’ a nonbrowning apple? The small number of genes (four, to be exact) that control PPO production were identified several years back, when the apple’s genome was mapped. To create a nonbrowning Arctic® version of an existing apple variety, our science team uses gene silencing to turn down the expression of PPO, which virtually eliminates PPO production, so the fruit doesn’t brown. This genetic transformation is aided by modern science tools.
This transformation takes place in a laboratory in a petri dish, with a small sample of apple tissue. We confirm the genetic transformation was successfully completed before growing the tissue out into a tiny plantlet and eventually moving it to an orchard.”
But Wenonah Hauter, the executive director of Food & Water Watch, warns that this GMO method, called RNA interference, can have “unintended effects,” both to the apple as well as the people eating it:
“This technology uses RNA to silence a target gene, but mounting evidence has shown that meddling with the genes could have unintended effects within the plant and also on organisms that eat the plant. The particular gene targeted by this technology allows the apples to be sliced without turning brown, which could mislead consumers into thinking they are eating fresh apples when they might be eating apples on the verge of rotting. Browning is an important indicator to consumers in determining the freshness of an apple or apple slice. The silenced gene is also heavily involved in a plant’s natural defense against pests and pathogens, which could lead to trees that are less healthy than non-GMO apples and rely on more chemical treatments to ward off pests and disease.”
The apples have been creating some serious controversy since February 2015, when the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) claimed the Arctic Golden Delicious and the Arctic Granny varieties safe for humans to consume. This marked the first time the federal agency gave an aesthetically-improved GMO food the go-ahead.
Good Fruit Grower, a publication from the Washington State Fruit Commission, noted that after 20 years of development, Okanogan Specialty Fruits is about to harvest its very first commercial crop consisting of an estimated 50 bins of Arctic Golden Delicious in Washington this year. The company will plant its first Arctic Granny Smiths this year as well. The Canadian company is currently awaiting approval from the USDA for a third variety, called the Arctic Fuji.
The company plans to increase its acreage in Washington this year for both its Arctic Golden and Arctic Granny apples, and hopes to expand to other states and Canada in the next few years.
Neal Carter, company president and founder, claims the first apples will be test marketed in select stores this year, and as production increases, more apples will make their way into locations in the U.S. and Canada. Once regulatory agencies have given their stamp of approval for the apple varieties, the company can market its initial product.
“What that approval means is it’s treated like any other apple variety,” Carter explains.
Outrage from those attesting the GMO movement has, naturally, ensued, with environmental organizations and worried consumers up in arms over the USDA’s approval. In fact, their review was hit with 73,000 comments in opposition of the commercialization of the apples.
And once the apples hit stores, you won’t even be warned that they are genetically modified, which is unfortunate given the fact that dozens of countries have now banned them citing various health and environmental concerns.