To: Top fast food restaurants, supermarkets, and food companies
Tell Food Companies to Reject the GE apple!
Despite public opposition, USDA has just approved Okanagan Specialty Fruit’s genetically engineered (GE), non-browning “Arctic” apple. The apple is meant to be sold pre-sliced in supermarkets and food service establishments. I strongly object to this GE product and ask that your company reject Arctic apples.
Unlabeled GE apples could find their way into non-GE fruit slices, juice, baby foods, or apple sauce - products predominantly consumed by children and babies who are at increased risk for any adverse health effects.
Pre-sliced apples are already a frequently recalled food product. Once the whole fruit is sliced, it has an increased risk of exposure to pathogens. Since browning is a sign that apples are no longer fresh, “masking” this natural sign could lead people to consume contaminated apples.
This product is completely unnecessary and poses several risks to apple growers, the food industry, and consumers. Please listen to your customers’ concerns and reject GE apples.
Why is this important?
After decades of promises from the biotech industry that genetically engineered (GE) food would feed the world, cure the sick, reduce agricultural dependence on toxic chemicals, and save countless crops from imminent collapse, USDA has just approved a product they think will solve a problem humans have struggled with for centuries… an apple that doesn’t brown when you slice it… Seriously; we couldn’t make this stuff up.
While these GE apples are a waste of time and money, we don’t want to downplay the real concerns about them. Pre-sliced apples are actually a frequently recalled food product. Once the whole fruit is sliced, it has an increased risk of exposure to pathogens. Since browning is a sign that apples are no longer fresh, “masking” this natural signal could lead people to consume contaminated apples, which is why some folks are calling it the “botox apple.”
Further, since FDA does no independent, pre-market safety testing of GE food there are several unanswered questions about the safety of GE apples. “Silencing” the genes that make apples turn brown when exposed to oxygen could have unintended consequences that will only be tested by hungry consumers. Although these “botox apples” are primarily targeted to the fresh-sliced apple market they could also find their way into non-GE juice, baby foods or apple sauce at the processing level, all products predominantly eaten by children and babies who are at increased risk for any adverse health effects.
Like other GE products in the U.S., no mandatory labeling would be required. While Okanagan (the manufacturer) says they’ll require growers to label their whole apples as “Arctic variety,” the government has announced no plans to require labeling of these apples as GE. If approved, Okanagan’s non-browning “Arctic” apple would be first commercialized in Granny Smith and Golden Delicious varieties, with Fuji and Gala on the horizon.
Even the apple industry has opposed this genetically engineered product. The U.S. Apple Association, Northwest Horticultural Council (which represents Washington apple growers, who grow over 60% of the apples in the U.S.), British Columbia Fruit Growers Association and other grower groups have already voiced their disapproval of these GE apples due to the negative impact they could have on farmers growing organic and non-GE apples through contamination, and to the image of the apple industry as a whole.
McDonald’s, Wendy's, and Gerber have already indicated that they don’t plan to use these GE apples.
If the apple industry doesn’t want GE apples, and consumers don’t want GE apples, who do these apples really benefit? As usual, this product only benefits the biotech industry and big food processing companies.
Tell food companies parents do not want to feed their kids GE apples!
We’ll send your signatures along with a letter to the top fast food restaurants, supermarkets, and food companies to secure commitments from them that they will not sell or use this risky new product.