Monday, August 06, 2012
By: Tony Isaacs
[NaturalNews] Move over Frankenfish, corn, soy, cotton and beets. Now we have new genetically modified Frankenapples with unnatural proteins designed to keep apples from browning when sliced or bruised. British Columbia-based Okanagan Specialty Fruits has submitted an application to the USDA for approval of new browning-resistant GMO apples.
The GMO apples, which are likely to first appear in the Golden Delicious and Granny Smith varieties, contain a synthetic gene that sharply reduces production of polyphenol oxidase, an enzyme responsible for normal apple browning. Okanagan believes their new browning-resistant “Acrtic Apple” could improve apple industry sales the way “baby carrots” did for carrot sales.
Fooling the public
Presumably, improving apple industry sales means fooling the public with the new apples similar to what happened when “baby carrots” were rolled out. “Baby carrots” are not young, tender carrots but instead are specially shaped slices of peeled carrots which were invented as a way to use carrots which were too twisted or knobby for sale as full-size carrots.
The new GMO apples will enable apples to be sold as an industrialized product. Instead of being sold as fresh, whole fruit, less than fresh browning-resistant apples can be sold as slices in plastic bags. As Canadian Biotechnology Action coordinator Lucy Sharrat asked “Is it a rotten apple that looks fresh?”
Sharrat noted that a consumer poll commissioned by BC and Quebec apple growers associations found that 69 percent of Canadians did not want the GE apples. U.S. polls have similarly found the large majority of consumers opposed to GMOs, but public sentiment thus far has done little to stop the proliferation of GMO products endangering us, our food chain and our environment.
More worrisome than the issue of freshness is: while only one changed gene is being used to keep the apples from browning, it is likely that other apple genes have also been changed in the process of creating the new GMO apples, the same as has happened with other GMO crops.
Kirk Azevedo, a former Monsanto employee who worked on genetically engineered cotton, was told by one of Monsanto’s PhD researchers that other proteins besides the one Monsanto wanted were produced as byproducts of the genetic engineering process. Azevedo, who had also been studying protein diseases reported that such proteins could be toxic, and he tried without success to warn Monsanto that seeds from the GE cotton should be destroyed and not fed to cattle.
Azevedo said, “I saw what was really the fraud associated with genetic engineering. My impression, and I think most people’s impression with genetically engineered foods and crops and other things, is that it’s just like putting one gene in there and that one gene is expressed….But in reality, the process of genetic engineering changes the cell in such a way that it’s unknown what the effects are going to be.”
There has been no testing done to assure the apples’ safety in the long-term. Already, scientists have reported birth defects, abnormal growth, high infant mortality rates, and sterility in hamsters, rats, and livestock fed genetically engineered soy and corn.
Some growers, especially organic ones, are worried that genes from the new apples will spread to their crops. Though apple pollen does not usually drift very far in the air, it can be carried by bees. Once introduced, there would be no way to control cross-pollination.
The USDA has opened a 60-day public comment period on Okanagan’s application for approval of GE apple trees. You can send your message to the FDA about GMO dangers and tell them to keep apples natural here: