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Disappointing News that Health Canada Has Approved the GM (Arctic) Apple

Health Action Network Society

 

Disappointing News that Health Canada Has Approved the GM (Arctic) Apple

 

March 23, 2015 (Burnaby)

Health Action Network Society (HANS) is speaking out in response to the Canadian government’s approval of the first genetically modified (GM) apple on Friday, March 20, 2015.

“We’re very disappointed,” says Michael Volker, HANS Director of Operations. “Health Canada has acted against consumer’s best interests and consumer’s desires.”    

Last month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved the GM apple for growth and sale in the U.S., and almost exactly a month later Canada has followed suit.  Within days of receiving approval in the U.S., Okanagan Specialty Fruit, the creator of the Arctic Apple, entered into an agreement to be purchased by Intrexon a U.S. biotechnology firm.  This will add further economic pressure to bring this apple to market as soon as possible.

Volker states, “Concerns with health safety and freedom of informed choice are a couple of reasons we continue to oppose introducing the GM apple into Canada.  HANS will step up its campaigning to introduce mandatory GM labelling, as the governments have in Australia, New Zealand and most of Europe.”

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.

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.

“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

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