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Apples have become compromised due to the questionable onslaught of genetic modification technology that has hit the market in recent years. Traditionally seen as one of the most nutritious foods to eat, now most found on grocery store shelves are laden with agrichemicals. Unfortunately, biotech companies have taken over the business and have patented crops like the Arctic® Apple, a genetically modified (GM) version of the fruit.
The Arctic® Apple is a type that does not brown for 15 to 18 days when sliced. The product was invented by the company, Okanagan Specialty Fruits and utilizes the technology, RNA transference, (RNAi). RNAi has not undergone enough comprehensive research to determine its effects on humans. According to the Organic Consumers Association, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is considering approval of the Arctic® Apple, but the federal government will not require the approval of the Food and Drug Administration before its released on the market.
Canada is focused on the Arctic® Apple because it could be approved for stores this year. Okanagan has already manufactured Golden Delicious and Granny Smiths modified by RNAi technology. These varieties are injected with RNA that silences the gene that causes apples to brown and inserts plant virus and bacterial genes into their DNA. This gives the apple a fresh look several days after it has been cut.
Grocery store owner Angela Perzow questions the Arctic® Apple and has vowed to never carry GM food in her market. Perzow wonders why anyone would ever eat tampered food that has been injected with foreign DNA. Angela Perzow is just one example of those who have become aware that fruits like apples have become compromised due to questionable GM technology.
The USDA is allowing the Arctic® Apple to undergo “test plots” in Washington and New York. The U.S. Apple Association and the British Columbia Fruit Growers Association are completely against the apple’s introduction into agriculture. The Canadian magazine called Pique reported that the Northwest Horticultural Council described the apple as “an invasive pest species.”
Non-organic apples have been recorded to contain traces of pesticides. The Environmental Working Group listed the apple as the number one item on a list of produce items that contain high levels of pesticide residue. The Pesticide Action Network has recorded that apples can contain up to 42 different toxic chemicals that are “known or probable carcinogens, suspected hormone disruptors, neurotoxins,” and “developmental or reproductive toxins.”
Not everyone is passive about the contamination of America’s food resources. Farmers in Jackson County, Oregon, are leading the crusade against companies that profit from GM food. City officials are voting on an outright ban of GM crops being cultivated in its farms and would require Jackson County residents to remove all GM crops during the 12-month period after the ordinance’s passage.
This ordinance marks a historical turn in America’s regulation of GM food. While Oregon is taking the much needed initiative to eradicate the use of GM products through legislation, most states are taking the step of fighting to label food as GM. Harvard Professor, Dr. Martha Herbert, is concerned that no actual studies can be produced on the side-effects caused by GM food in humans, because the food is not labeled and therefore cannot be traced once in the hands of consumers.
Apples, along with the majority of crops in America, have been compromised due to the questionable technology that biotech corporations use to alter their food products. While the public waits for substantiated evidence that proves that technologies like RNAi are toxic, consumer’s stomachs are unknowingly being pumped full of chemicals which makes anyone who ingests these products, such as apples, the perfect guinea pigs in the biotech industry’s massive food experiment.
By Reivin Johnson