Posts Tagged Apples
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:
by: Kelsey Coy
July 24, 2012
For the eighth year in a row, the Environmental Watch Group (EWG) has published an updated ‘shopper’s guide’ based on a comprehensive analysis of government pesticide testing data of 45 different fruit and vegetables. The guide includes the ‘dirty dozen:’ the twelve foods most commonly contaminated with pesticides, as well as the ‘clean fifteen:’ the fifteen least contaminated foods. This year the dirty dozen also includes a ‘plus’ category, warning about two foods containing particularly concerning organophospates, insecticides that are known reproductive and neurotoxins. The use of organophosphates have been significantly reduced in the past decade, but is yet to be banned, and this year, a number of crops still tested positive. The journal Environmental Health Perspectives contains 25 articles published in the past week analyzing and discussing the dangers or organophosphates in our food supply.
Also new this year, researchers investigated the pesticide content of 190 samples of baby food, with rather alarming results.
As the EWG simply and frankly reminds us, ‘Pesticides are toxic by design. They are created expressly to kill living organisms — insects, plants, and fungi that are considered “pests.” Many pesticides pose health dangers to people. These risks have been established by independent research scientists and physicians across the world.” The U.S. and international government agencies have linked pesticides to health problems spanning brain and nervous system toxicity, cancer, hormonal disruption and skin, eye and lung irritation. However, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), under pressure from The American Crop Protection Association, largely representative of the pesticide industry, has failed to apply adequate protective measures in regulating our food supply. One might well ask whether it is wiser to protect a country’s crops or its population.
The Dirty Dozen
Without further ado, the dirty dozen:
- Sweet bell peppers
- Nectarines (imported)
- Blueberries (domestic)
Plus 2 more to add to the dirty dozen:
- Green beans
- Kale/Collard Greens
Going into a little more detail for the dirty dozen, 100 percent of imported nectarines tested positive for pesticides, as well as 98% of apples and 96% of plums. Grapes had 15 pesticides in a single sample, while blueberries and strawberries each had 13. As an entire category, grape samples contained 64 different pesticides; bell peppers had 88 different residues, cucumbers 81 and lettuce 78.
The Clean Fifteen
And the clean fifteen:
- Sweet corn
- Sweet peas
- Cantaloupe (domestic)
- Sweet Potatoes
Highlights of the clean fifteen include pineapples, in which fewer than 10% of samples contained pesticides, mangoes and kiwis, both of which were completely free of pesticides more than 75% of the time, and watermelon and domestic cantaloupe over 60% of the time. Among vegetables, no samples of sweet corn and onions had more than one pesticide and more than 90% of cabbage, asparagus, sweet peas, eggplant and sweet potato samples contained no more than one pesticide.
One additional concern to consider: sweet corn, although it may contain less pesticide residues, is quite commonly genetically modified in the U.S. While genetically modified organisms (GMO) are banned or significantly restricted in Australia, Japan and throughout the European Union, the industry is still at large in the U.S., and no labeling is required by the federal government. For this reason, it is recommended that sweet corn consumption also be limited to organic.
Among baby food, green beans and pears were especially disturbing: almost 10% of green beans contained the organophosphate methamidiphos in amounts that could easily increase risk for brain and nervous system damage in infants consuming a four-ounce serving of green beans on a regular basis. 92% of pear samples tested positive for at least one pesticide and over a quarter of samples contained five or more, including iprodione, categorized by the EPA as a probable human carcinogen, and not registered for use on pears. In fact, the presence of iprodione in pears of any kind constitutes a violation of FDA regulations and the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
While there is no question that Americans need to eat more fruits and vegetables, it’s worth taking an extra step to make sure that produce is delivering the nutrition it’s supposed to, and nothing it’s not. Pause for a moment. Want some neurotoxins with that salad? I didn’t think so.