Deep concerns about safety are raised once again following Okanagan Specialty Fruits recent announcement that their genetically modified non-browning Arctic® Golden sliced apples will be placed in select midwestern U.S. stores starting in early 2017. Watch for Arctic® Golden sliced apples in the cooler section with other grab-and-go packaged fruit and veggie snacks.
In an interview for Capital Press, Neal Carter, the company’s founder and president, said the apple slices will be in 10 stores this February, but he declined to identify which stores.
About 500, 40-pound boxes of sliced apples will be sold in grab-and-go pouch bags, he said. The company expects to offer 6,000 boxes of apple slices from the 2017 fall crop. The company has orchards in British Columbia and 85,000 trees at an undisclosed location in Washington state. More than 300,000 trees will be planted this spring and 500,000 are being budded for planting in 2018.
Will They Be Labeled?
A QR computer scan code on the packaging will be used to provide consumer information, including the fact that the apple slices are genetically modified; otherwise nothing on the package directly identifies the product as GMO.
Are They Safe to Eat?
To accomplish the non-browning effect, scientists at Okanagan Specialty Fruits introduced genetically engineered genes that make their apples produce double stranded RNA (dsRNA) to shut off the browning genes. The question that serious scientists are asking is: If we (or bees, or birds, or deer) consume the dsRNA in the apple, can it influence how our genes work? Will these genetically modified organisms (GMOs) change our development, physiology, and behavior?
For an in-depth look at existing research and overview of the dsRNA modification, see the article by Jeffrey Smith, Why Scientists are Worried about the GMO Potato and Apple.