Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Request From Just Label It - Tell USDA, NO GMO Apples

Those stickers on fruits & veggies tell you a lot! 4 numbers mean they were conventionally grown, 5 numbers starting with number 8 means they are genetically modified (GMO), and 5 numbers starting with 9 means they were organically grown without the use of pesticides or GMO's

The iconic, doctor-recommended apple, the one found in millions of lunchboxes as kids head back to school, is at risk of becoming genetically engineered. A Canadian corporation's modifications may disturb how you see this idyllic fruit.

Okanagan Specialty Fruits has created an apple that is genetically engineered to avoid turning brown when cut or bruised. A browning apple never hurt anyone, but we don't know for sure what the short- or long-term human health impacts are of GMOs. Why mess with one of the few healthy snack foods kids enjoy?

Fortunately, the USDA is currently seeking feedback from consumers like you, but we have less than two weeks until their deadline. They need to know that transforming this popular fruit into an industrialized product would ignore the potential environmental and health risks involved.

There have been no short- or long-term studies on the human health impacts of this new apple conducted by the patent holder, the government, or university researchers. Why are we introducing new untested produce into our food supply?

This genetically engineered apple, called the "Arctic Apple," contains a synthetic gene that dramatically reduces production of polyphenol oxidase, the enzyme responsible for an apple's browning. Everyone knows that when you slice an apple, the sides turn brown. This exposure to oxygen doesn't make the apple lose any flavor or nutritional value – it is part of a natural process.

This new patented apple promises financial gains for the owner of the technology, but offers no real benefit for consumers or other producers, only risk. And since the apples won't be labeled as GMOs, you won't be able to decide what's best for you and your family.

Farmers are worried too. Pollen carried by the wind and bees can travel for miles, transporting the foreign DNA of the Arctic Apple to traditional and organic orchards – polluting the seeds and apples of those famers' harvests. Even the U.S. Apple Association – which represents Apple growers throughout the United States – doesn't think this genetically engineered apple should be introduced.

Americans want to know about the food we put in our bodies and our children's bodies, yet most of us have not been told about the ingredients in the food we eat. We don't need another genetically engineered food on the market while we're still denied our fundamental right to know how our food is produced.

Thank you for speaking out today.

David Bancroft
Campaign Director
Just Label It / Organic Voices

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