Thanks to the biotech industry’s relentless quest to control our food, McDonald’s, Burger King and even school cafeterias will soon be able to serve up apples that won’t turn brown when they’re sliced or bitten into. A new, almost entirely untested genetic modification technology, called RNA interference, or double strand RNA (dsRNA), is responsible for this new food miracle. Scientists warn that this genetic manipulation poses health risks, as the manipulated RNA gets into our digestive systems and bloodstreams. The biotech industry claims otherwise.
Of course, like any non-organic apple, the new GMO Arctic® Apple will be drenched in toxic pesticide residues, untested by the U.S. Food & Drug Association (FDA) and likely unlabeled. And of course these shiny new high-tech apples will be cheap, priced considerably lower than a pesticide-free, nutrient-dense, old-fashioned organic apple that turns a little brown after you slice it up.
When the Biotech Industry Organization gathers next week in Chicago for the 2013 BIO International Convention, BIOTECanada will present its “Gold Leaf Award for Early Stage Agriculture” to Okanagan Specialty Fruits, Inc. (OSF), purveyor of the Arctic® Apple, slated for approval in the U.S. this year. We hate to upset the biotech apple cart, but a pesticide-intensive GMO apple, produced through a risky manipulation of RNA, doesn’t deserve a place on our grocery shelves, much less in the agriculture hall of fame.
That said, the Arctic “Frankenapple” is expected to be approved this year by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), responsible for protecting agriculture from pests and diseases. It does not require approval by the FDA, which is responsible for human food and animal feed.
Grim. Really, really grim. There are people I know who are in favour of GMO. They need to reconsider, or they ought to.
Even if they believe the testing on existing GMO crops is sufficient, when new GMO crops appear there still needs to be testing. And while we’re at it that testing should be thorough before this biotech giants foist their products on the world.
Frankenapple – one more bad apple in a long line of bad apples
According to the report, apples are inherently doused in pesticide residue and one of the dirty dozen of ‘poisoned’ produce. However, the real issue with the Frankenapple is the lack of testing concerning the RNA manipulation that creates this latest incarnation on a growing list of GMO crops.
This time scientists have engineered a double-stranded RNA manipulation which ‘silences’ the enzyme production responsible for turning the apple brown when sliced and exposed to oxygen.
Biotech says this rsDNA is safe but other scientists are not sure. And that’s the real issue, if the new technology is untested, no-one can be sure. Proper testing is the least we should demand. And certainly before this Frankenapple is available to buy.
Biotech has always claimed that genetically engineered DNA and RNA is destroyed by human digestion, however there is plenty of evidence to the contrary.
- rsRNA survives digestion and enters the bloodstream
- the ‘silenced’ enzyme is involved in natural pest control, requiring farmers to use more pesticide
- pesticides harm humans directly through ingestion
- and indirectly through pollution
Given that the dsRNA from our food, and presumably the Frankenapple, will enter the bloodstream and cells of consumers, safety research should be done BEFORE this GMO apple is put on the grocery shelf to prove that the dsRNA that enters consumers’ bodies will not harm them. To date, no such research has been reported
Where’s the testing? Why oh why can they get away with this?
The Frankenapple has been in development for a decade. I do wonder why when the only purpose is to stop it going brown. What an idiotic waste of time money. Now more waste as the outcome will likely be further health costs in the long run.
But hang on… There is a reason
From the edible garden project site quoting the Artic Apple
we all love apples! UNtil they go brown, that is. Article apples are everything you love about apples, without the ‘yuck’ factor that you don’t. (Now if we could just get rid of the seeds!)
That doesn’t need any more comment, does it?
Apparently, the Frankenapple will be ready to sell in the US later this year. Another untested GMO crop to test live, then…