NDP MLA plants petition against GMO apples in B.C. legislature
Biotech firm Okanagan Specialty Fruits claims its Arctic apple is "no frankenfood" but just a "modern marriage of nature and science". But that doesn't really reassure anyone worried about the impact of genetically modified foods on human health, the environment, and agriculture.
B.C. NDP MLA Lana Popham has brought these concerns forward in Victoria. On Tuesday (March 12), the Saanich South representative tabled a petition in the legislature. "Mr. Speaker, 5,536 people have signed their names, respectfully requesting that this House take urgent action to halt the commercial introduction of the genetically modified apple tree in British Columbia," Popham said.
What is the Arctic apple? (Oops, we forgot the ® after Arctic.) According to OSF's Arctic website, it's an apple than cannot go brown. The company states:
The science is relatively simple; we "turn off" the genes that makes apples brown, so the enzyme that usually triggers enzymatic browning is no longer present in the apple. We insert nonbrowning apple genes to replace the genes that usually trigger enzymatic browning.
OSF's applications to plant Arctic apples in North America are under review by the Canadian and U.S. governments. While OSF maintains its apples would be "voluntarily labeled", its site shows those labels won't say anything about genetic modification. Indeed, the company's blog claims that "efforts to enforce mandatory labeling for all biotech foods is a transparent attempt to utilize scare tactics to make consumers avoid them".