HANS- US Approves GM Apple - Press Release
Health Action Network Society
Canada Should Keep Doors Closed to GM Apple, Despite U.S. Approval of the First “Non-browning” Apple
February 16, 2015 (Burnaby)
Health Action Network Society (HANS) is speaking out in response to the U.S. government’s approval of the first genetically modified (GM) apple.
“We’re very disappointed,” says Michael Volker, HANS Director of Operations. “Our campaigning over the last year has made it clearer than ever: Okanagan Specialty Fruits may want this approval, but consumers and farmers do not.”
Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved the GM apple for growth and sale in the U.S., making it the second approved GM fruit in the world after the U.S.’s GM papaya.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is now participating in a voluntary food safety assessment consultation with Okanagan Specialty Fruits, the B.C. company that created the “Arctic Apple.” This apple doesn’t brown for 15 to 18 days after being cut. New genetic material, including a plant virus and two different bacteria, is inserted to ‘silence’ the browning gene. The GM apple will look fresh, even when it’s not.
“Concerns with health safety and potential contamination added to consumer confusion—these are a few reasons we continue to oppose introducing the GM apple into Canada,” says Volker. “Given the clear lack of support amongst consumers, retailers and farmers, the Canadian government should not follow the U.S. example.”
Other consumer groups to reject the GM apple include the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network and Society for a GE Free BC. The BC Fruit Growers’ Association (comprised of both organic and conventional growers) officially opposes the GM apple. In 2012, a poll they commissioned found that 69 percent of polled Canadians didn’t want the GM apple.
In 2014, a petition submitted to the B.C. government by the Society for GE Free BC had 7,000 signatures from 20 communities calling for a moratorium on the GM apple.
“More and more stores and B.C. distributors have responded to our appeal not to purchase or sell the GM apples, says Volker. I am confident this number will grow as the public expresses its disapproval over this unfortunate food product.”
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For more information: Michael Volker, Health Action Network Society (604) 435-0512
214-5589 Byrne Road, Burnaby BC, V5J 3J1• Ph: 604.435.0512 • Fax: 604.435.1561 • www.hans.org