Category Archives: geneically modified organisms

The science guy has changed his mind about GMOs

Magic City Comic has a serious question, worthy of your consideration. Is changing your mind a testament to your ever-evolving, constantly-learning, exceptional intellect, or, rather, is it the inability to make up one’s mind? We’re constantly posing this question during any political season, as every word every candidate has ever uttered is questioned over and over again. It is a serious question for other arenas as well and needs to be considered in science. Bill Nye, for example, is in the news right now for this precise discussion. The science guy has changed his mind about GMOs.

“The first principle [of science] is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.” – Richard Feynman, winner of the Nobel Prize for physics, 1965.

When Bill Nye (“The Science Guy”) publicly changed his mind recently about genetically modified organisms − he now says they “are an important, and perhaps, essential component of modern farming” − many were quick to pounce.

Besides attacking his reasoning and his credentials, some of his critics even alleged – with absolutely no evidence or justification – that Bill’s change of position must have involved a payoff by Monsanto.

The simple, innocent truth, however, is laid out plainly in the recently published revised edition of Bill’s book “Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation.” In a new chapter, Bill explains that after publishing the first edition of the book, in 2014, he “has spent a great deal of additional time investigating the issues surrounding GMFs (genetically modified foods).” His investigation, he explains, included a deeper exploration of the scientific literature, as well as a visit to our company.

“I was not there to be charmed,” he comments on that visit. “I was there to see if Monsanto scientists had hard data to address the issues about GMFs and the ecosystems in which they grow. I now believe they do.”

In other words, Bill dug deeper into the issue and then recognized he’d been mistaken. And then he had the courage to admit it.

Who else has trod this path? Well, lots of people. After all, to err is human, and scientists and those who, like Bill, study and write about science, are human. For science to move ahead, therefore, it’s critical that the people who pursue it be willing to recognize and correct their mistakes. Otherwise science – and humanity – get stuck.

I know I’ve made mistakes as a scientist – for example, in being slow to recognize the seriousness of climate change. When the data documenting this trend became overwhelming, however, I studied it – and shifted my position – because I knew that for a scientist, the real sin is not in making a mistake, but in refusing to acknowledge it. That’s all Bill has done in this case.

And that puts him in some very good company.

Thomas Edison, for example, famously had to work his way through thousands of failures to achieve some of his great technological inventions.

“I have not failed,” he once said. “I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

That attitude is typical among great scientists. They know that, as Niels Bohr said, “An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made in a very narrow field.”

Albert Einstein was one such expert. As a recent article in Scientific American shows, the greatest physicist of the 20th century made several important mistakes. But as the article also shows, he was not unwilling to admit it, most notably in connection with his general theory of relativity, introduced in 1915.

Consistent with the prevailing belief of the time, Einstein assumed then that the universe was static – neither expanding nor contracting. That circumstance, however, was a problem for him, because gravity dictated contraction. So the great man inserted into his calculations a “cosmological constant” – a fudge factor he thought was needed to ensure a universe in balance.

Some years later, however, evidence began to mount that the universe was not in balance, that it’s actually expanding. So Einstein withdrew the constant – and called it “the biggest blunder he ever made in his life.”

My final example of mistakes made and acknowledged concerns Stephen Hawking, the British astrophysicist who comes closest, perhaps, to being Einstein’s successor in today’s world. Hawking, who helped create modern black-hole theory among countless other contributions, is best known to the public as the author of A Brief History of Time and the subject of the movie, “The Theory of Everything.”

Like Einstein, Hawking has admitted some big mistakes. My favorite concerns time:

A few decades ago, some of the world’s leading theorists speculated that if the expansion of the universe were to reverse itself and things would begin to contract, time’s arrow would flip. Instead of pointing forward, it would run backwards, like a movie in reverse. People, if they still existed, would live from the grave to the cradle.

Now, as spectacular as that thought is, what is almost equally spectacular to me is that for a while, Stephen Hawking believed it. Yes, the man who is arguably the smartest person in the world thought time would reverse – which I gather means the Beatles would reunite, the Great Depression would quickly be followed by World War I, and my St. Louis Cardinals would have another chance at winning the 1985 World Series, which they would have won the first time but for a terrible call by the umpire.

But I digress. As The New York Times reported years ago, Hawking has now “announced that he had changed his mind. Recent research had led him to conclude that time would still march forward, even if the universe began to contract, he told a conference in Chicago on astrophysics.”

Never changing one’s mind does seem to be a limiting concept – one which assumes that after a hypothesis is made or an opinion is given, there will be no change, no discovery and no greater depth of knowledge on the given subject. That strikes us as a sad thought. On the other hand, we are talking about GMOs. Food for thought.

GMO-free original Cheerios coming to a grocery store near you

If you’re concerned about purchasing products containing probable GMO ingredients, you’ll want to make note of this story.

General Mills Inc. has announced that it has begun producing original Cheerios WITHOUT any genetically modified ingredients. The 73-year-old breakfast cereal is one of the highest-profile brands to make this change, responding to the growing number of complaints in regard to the use of genetically modified ingredients in packaged foods.

This change is only being made to original Cheerios. Other varieties, like Honey Nut Cheerios, Multi-Grain Cheerios and Apple Cinnamon Cheerios are still being manufactured using the same ingredients. General Mills began working towards this change in the manufacturing of original Cheerios about a year ago and began the actual manufacturing process of the GMO-free cereal several weeks ago. They are stating that they expect the new product to be available to consumers “shortly,” once the products have made their way through the distribution system and onto shelves nationwide.

You’ll be able to identify the new GMO-free version of the cereal easily. These Cheerios will carry the label “Not Made With Genetically Modified Ingredients.” General Mills does note, however, that the product could contain trace amounts due to contamination in shipping or manufacturing.

We know that the community is well-versed in the debate regarding GMO ingredients in our food supply. GMO critics are calling this major move by Cheerios a victory in the fight against the use of genetically modified ingredients. There are initiatives proposed in several states calling for the labeling of GMO ingredients in our food supply.

While many advocacy groups have petitioned major food manufacturers to change their policies and begin producing their brands without the use of genetically modified ingredients, most large companies have rejected these efforts. They argue that there is no proof of health concerns resulting from the use of GMOs. Most are also against GMO labeling, saying that this would be a costly measure and reinforces a misconception about genetically modified ingredients.

General Mills spokesperson Mike Siemienas stated that “There is broad consensus that food containing GMOs is safe, but we decided to move forward with this in response to consumer demand.” Because the primary ingredient in Cheerios is oats, a crop that isn’t grown from genetically modified seeds, the transition just required General Mills to find new sources of cornstarch and sugar.

“Even that required significant investment,” Mr. Siemienas said. He didn’t provide a figure, but said that the hurdles would make it “difficult, if not impossible” to make Honey Nut Cheerios and other varieties without GMOs.

GMO Inside, a campaign that advocates GMO labeling, said Cheerios is the first major brand of packaged food in the U.S. to make the switch from containing GMOs to marketing itself as non-GMO. Other companies have also said they plan to change. Whole Foods Market Inc. said it will require by 2018 that all food in its stores containing GMOs, disclose the fact on labels. Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. and Kellogg Co.’s Kashi, which markets its cereals and snacks as having “natural ingredients,” have both said they are working on taking GMOs out of their food.

But it is a lengthy and expensive process. Kashi says only 1% of U.S. cropland is organic and around 70% of packaged foods contain GMOs.

This voluntary change by General Mills in the manufacturing of original Cheerios may encourage other large manufacturers to follow suit. While it may be difficult and expensive to source the ingredients and change their processes, a brand as large as Cheerios embracing what companies view as a difficult transition can certainly begin a trend in food manufacturing.

GMO Inside needs our help getting GMOs properly labeled or completely out of our breakfast cereals is aware of our community’s strong feelings regarding the genetically modified ingredients in our food supply. We know how important to is to you to educate yourself, shop carefully, and stay aware of the latest developments in the GMO controversy. When we saw this information today, we knew our community needed to know the details of how they can lend a hand in the ongoing battle over GMO labeling.

GMO Inside is a group devoted to the rights of food consumers to know if the foods they are purchasing contain genetically modified ingredients. They have announced that they are calling on Kellogg’s and General Mills regarding the GMO ingredients in their breakfast cereals and effectively start over with consumers by labeling or removing those ingredients from their products. It’s called the “Fresh Start” action and you can help to move these breakfast cereal giants in the right direction.

During the month of January at , GMO Inside needs all of us to to sign petitions, phone both of these companies to request non-GMO products, and comment accordingly on the Facebook profiles of each company and their brands. For Kellogg’s, the brands include Corn Flakes, POPS, Froot Loops, Frosted Flakes and Special K. They are also the manufacturer of MorningStar Farms products and Keebler. General Mills boasts Lucky Charms, Cheerios, Chex and Kix as well as the Pillsbury and Betty Crocker brands. There are plenty more, these are just examples for both companies.

In addition to the effort to get the brands to label or remove GMO ingredients, GMO inside is also asking both brands to withhold funding from any opposition to the new Washington State ballot initiative for labeling GMO ingredients. This will come up for a vote during the next election season. It is important to note that both Kellogg’s and General Mills are selling their products in Europe, WITHOUT GMO ingredients.

The GMO Inside “Fresh Start” initiative has already gained over 5,000 signatures on their petition. and GMO Inside share the same philosophies on the controversial topic of GMO ingredients. GMOs have never been proven to be safe for consumers. We find new studies constantly that raise serious issues about health issues that may be linked to genetically modified foods. And in addition, we are aware that the planting of GMO crops has actually increased the use of the pesticides and herbicides, proving harmful for farmers worldwide.

We urge our community to take action and visit the GMO Inside link to support this very important initiative.
Read more:

Sad news to report: Proposition 37 fails in California … GMO ingredients are not required to be labeled on food products in the state that fought for it is reporting a sad story tonight. Proposition 37 was on the ballot yesterday in California and was defeated. We’ve been following this story and we’re definitely feeling sadness tonight bringing you the details on how the vote played out.

For anyone who’s not familiar with Proposition 37, it put forth the necessity of food companies labeling any genetically modified ingredients included in their products. Certainly doesn’t sound like a big deal, does it? Especially when you consider that consistent polling indicates that 90% of all U.S. citizens support the labeling of genetically modified ingredients. Sadly, though, yesterday, this proposition failed in the state of California. has found some details as to why this simple ballot failed, and we’re sure that our community won’t like the information. It appears that in the final days prior to voting there was a $45-$48 million dollar advertising push by several food corporations that encouraged the California population to vote NO on the proposition. As of today, Wednesday, November 7, just about 47% of Californians voted YES to Proposition 37, while about 53% voted NO.

It does appear that there are votes that are still outstanding for the Proposition, but frankly, the margin is now too wide for any sort of last-minute turn around. is rather amazed that this historic proposition was put down by about 6 points in the voting procedure. We then found this very detailed write up, that you should certainly read more about. While the passage of Prop 37 held about a 67% support level about 9 days prior to the election, just five days later, it had dropped to 42%. That’s a very steep drop. It doesn’t make sense, until you look more closely at the massive effort put forth by the “NO” community that was worth millions of ad dollars in that short time period.

The “NO” vote campaign appears to have been tremendous … with reports regarding the ads that were run that term them as misleading, at best. The list of companies contributing to this ad campaign is extensive and includes:

E.I. Dupont De Nemours & Co.
Grocery Manufacturers Association
Dow Agrosciences LLC
Kraft Foods
Nestle USA
Coca-Cola, North America
General Mills
ConAgra Foods
Kellogg Company
Smithfield Foods
Del Monte Foods
Campbell Soup Company

While proponents of Proposition 37 have filed a complaint against their opponents, it does appear to have fallen upon deaf ears. An accusation regarding misleading advertising has been misconstrued and revised somehow … becoming a complaint accusing the campaign of misusing the FDA seal in its television commercials.

There’s more information that encourages you to read up on here:

We encourage our community to understand that this fight is only in its beginning stages. Please let your voice be heard. Get involved. Stay involved. While we are saddened by this news, it only strengthens our resolve to do more for the incredibly important issue of labeling genetically modified ingredients in our food supply. Let’s all recommit to this significant problem for food consumers everywhere.

Real developments in the fight against GMOs and how YOU can get involved!

Last month, posted a blog focused on a study from France that suggested a link between GMO corn and cancer in rats. Since that time, many different organizations have tried to debunk the study, while others have come to its defense. It seems, however, that the study itself has raised tremendous concerns around the world from countries who commonly import corn from the United States.

It appears that a few weeks back, the Russian government has suspended all imports and the use of GMO corn in products in their country.

In addition to this sizeable statement from Russia, the French government has asked all European authorities to follow suit and take whatever steps are needed to protect the population. They are currently considering an emergency suspension of all imports of genetically modified corn to the entire European Union.

This would certainly be a blow to the United States economy (which is already fairly stressed at this juncture). While every nation in the European Union already requires labeling of foods containing GMOs, and many of these countries have banned the planting of GM crops, Europe is still an importer of genetically engineered corn. There has been some information that actually indicates that our own government has been discussing some form of retaliation against Europe to use genetically modified seeds and suspending corn imports. This would signify the American governments intent to engage in a pretty hostile trade war against the nations involved in these bans and suspensions.

The United States is currently the major political and agricultural force behind genetically modified foods. While this is undisputable, it’s also true that 91% of our population supports GMO labeling and that more than half would choose non-GMO foods if they are able to see them clearly stated on labels. GMO manufacturers like Monsanto are vehemently opposed to this labeling fearing that consumers would sink a ship that they’ve built, marketed and profited from.

This election day, Proposition 37 is on the California ballot. It states simply that manufacturers will be required to label GMOs on any product on grocery store shelves in their state. It is understood that the act of passing this proposition in California will lead to other similar propositions nationwide. The biotech industry is spending many millions of dollars to fight the proposition. It isn’t working though – recent polls in California show that over two thirds of the population in the Golden State intend to vote to pass Proposition 37.

This isn’t simply California’s fight, though. It’s an issue that affects every American consumer – and, obviously based on Russia and the European Union’s response to the recent study linking GMOs to cancer, consumers around the world as well. The Food Revolution Network has partnered with Care2, the Institute with Responsible Technology and other organizations has put together a national petition aimed at the Congress of the United States to act and mandate effective labeling of GMO foods. The petition makes it clear to lawmakers that their responsibility is to stand with the consumers they represent and not the interests of industry. is putting this in front of our community so that you can get involved and make a difference in this tremendous issue facing our population, our government, and populations around the world.

You can find out more about the petition here AND sign it: And you can read more about the entire issue here:

Stay informed. Stay active. Make a difference.

Didn’t they tell us that GMO crops were going to reduce pesticide use? clearly remembers that the producers of GMO seeds used the idea of the reduced use of pesticides as the tremendous selling point for their products. Since the seeds would produce crops that were virtually resistant to the pesticides sprayed on them, crop production would increase without the dangers of pesticide residue in our food supply. So much for that theory.

It appears that a report released by Charles Benbrook, a research professor at the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources at Washington State University points to an increase in pesticide use – not a decrease. To be specific during the 16 year period that was examined, pesticide use increased by 404 million pounds. To take that further it talks about that this increase is mostly because of the genetically modified crop technologies that were supposed to hold pesticide use at bay. New strains of “superweeds” and insects that have developed more immunity to the pesticides are appearing throughout U.S. farmlands.

So, while companies like Monsanto were selling the benefits of GMO technologies first introduced to the world in 1996, the actual outcome of the use of the technologies is challenging their value. The use of GMOs was supposed to make it easier for farmers as they attempted to rid their fields of both weeds and insects which reduced their crop production.

And for a while they did exactly that. Farmers had an easier time making sure that their crops weren’t hindered by weeds and bugs. But recently, new species of weeds that are resistant to both Monsanto Roundup and other strong herbicides have developed. So now farmers are having to use more and more of those products to achieve the same effect. In fact, they’ve been using about 25% more year over year. These have come to be known as “superweeds” and about a dozen different varieties have been identified.

The report notes that the annual increase in the herbicides needed to handle these new, resistant weed populations has increased from 1.5 million pounds in 1999 to about 90 million pounds in 2011.

Then, there are the bugs. Corn and cotton crops that were created specifically to ward off certain insects has actually caused a rise in insects that are resistant to even stronger insecticides. thinks we’ve all learned about this in science class fairly early on in our education. Living things evolve to adapt to their changing environments. Weeds and insects aren’t any different than any other living things in nature, so it would make sense that as their natural environment changed, they changed along with it. Since genetically modified crops now represent the bulk of agriculture in the U.S., we can probably expect to see this trend continuing.

We have to wonder how the advanced science responsible for the creation of GMO technologies failed to include consideration of a fact we all learned back in grade school. And we want to note that we now have a pretty consistent stream of research being released that in one way or another points out that genetic engineering of our food supply was probably best left in the lab, far away from our farmland.

Read more:

High Fructose Corn Syrup … at the center of another controversy has been aware that there’s been an ongoing fight between sugar producers and corn refiners here in the U.S. Back in 2011 sugar refiners and farmers filed a false advertising lawsuit against corn refiners. It was focused on the concept that the corn refiners were misleading consumers by promoting High Fructose Corn Syrup as the nutritional equivalent of sugar. We’re sure most of you remember the ad campaign, trying to position HFCS as “corn sugar,” claiming that as far as your body is concerned “sugar is sugar”.

And now, the corn refiners have filed a counter claim in the state of California. They’re accusing sugar producers of conducting a campaign maligning High Fructose Corn Syrup. They claim that the Sugar Association is falsely accusing HFCS of contributing to obesity and health problems in the population. As an example of this campaign, the Corn Refiners Association has pointed out an article on the Sugar Association’s website which quotes Dr. John McElligott claiming that “your body does not recognize High Fructose Corn Syrup as a sugar, so the pancreas does not react with a burst of insulin as it would with sugar or sucrose.” The CRA is arguing that this statement is false and misleading. doesn’t actually take sides in most arguments. We’ve always felt that our job is to inform consumers and provide enough information to our community to make the intelligent decisions that fit their lifestyles. After reading more about this however, we did want to bring it to your attention and cite some other information that does, in fact, contradict the claims of the Corn Refiners Association. In a blog we posted a few months back, we discussed a study from the Norwegian School of Veterinary Medicine. It explored the results of feeding both mice and salmon diets of genetically modified foods. That study linked GMO-based diets to increases in obesity in both the mice and salmon populations involved.

So although we don’t know if the animals and fish involved in the study received any HFCS in their GMO-based diets, we DO know that High Fructose Corn Syrup in our food supply is, most likely, GMO. And even though the conclusion of the study we blogged about called for further research before any definitive statement could be made, we most certainly can say that the remarks quoted on the Sugar Association’s website weren’t misleading at all. In fact, the statement made was based on the ongoing research focusing on the effects of genetically modified ingredients in our food supply. Our own conclusion is that it’s highly possible that the Corn Refiners Association is still trying to make High Fructose Corn Syrup more acceptable in the minds of consumers. Only this time, they’re trying to do that by contradicting the increasing body of research that does not support their own claims. invites you to read more:

Monsanto’s push to block the labeling of genetically modified ingredients has been reporting quite consistently on GMOs because we understand the concerns our community has expressed in this regard. Today, we visited the Monsanto blog and found some very interesting information we wanted to share with you.

Proposition 37 will be coming up for vote in the state of California this coming November. If voted in, the proposition will require manufacturers clearly label genetically modified items on their products ingredient lists. As you might imagine there are many voices in the food industry trying to sway consumer opinions regarding Proposition 37, and, of course, Monsanto is at the top of that list.

Their blog expresses their support for No on 37: Coalition Against the Deceptive Food Labeling Scheme. That’s a coalition of California farmers, food producers, grocers and retailers that have joined forces to oppose Proposition 37. They refer to the labeling of GM ingredients as a “warning label” … understands it differently. GM ingredient labeling is information consumers are currently denied and therefore, are not making food choices based on all the available product information. We have fairly clear labeling of other ingredients and nutritional information that allow grocery shoppers to understand whether or not a particular food product fits their dietary requirements. So we’re not quite sure how labeling GM ingredients qualifies as a “warning”.

From the Monsanto blog: “Consumers have broad food choices today, but could be denied these choices if Prop 37 prevails … Interestingly, the main proponents of Proposition 37 are special interest groups and individuals opposed to food biotechnology who are not necessarily engaged in the production of our nation’s food supply. They are gearing up a campaign of misinformation.” This also confuses us. Labeling in no way denies consumers food choices. It simply allows them to make more educated decisions about the foods they purchase.

More from the blog: “Hundreds of organic or certified non-GM products are available for consumers who prefer these products. This approach offers choices for all consumers and does so without the risk of confusing consumers who are satisfied with the products they know, trust and can afford.” While it’s true there are a wide variety of organic/certified non-GM products out there, the quantity of those available products pales in comparison to the non-organic/non-GM products stocked on grocery shelves.

“Leading proponents of Proposition 37 blatantly describe foods containing GM ingredients as untested and unsafe. This is simply untrue. Beneath their right to know slogan is a deceptive marketing campaign aimed at stigmatizing modern food production. While we respect that some people may choose to avoid GM ingredients, it is wrong to mislead and scare people about the safety of their food choices. The California proposal would serve the purposes of a few special interest groups at the expense of the majority of consumers.” Monsanto seems to believe that because there have only been links found between health and safety concerns of GM ingredients that there really aren’t any. Those links, in their opinion, need further investigation in order to warrant any action.

Sadly, found the language used in the blog fairly similar to the rhetoric regularly used in politics worldwide. It is peppered with phrases designed to sway the opinions of readers to their side of the argument. We know this argument will heat up in the months to come as November is right around the corner. And in addition, we’re sure that other states will base similar propositions off of the results of the Proposition 37 ballot in California. Please read more here:

Wal-Mart on board to sell Monsanto GM Sweet Corn has been trying to keep up with the latest news regarding genetically modified food products and ingredients so that we can bring that news directly to our community. Today we learned that Wal-Mart has officially agreed to sell genetically modified sweet corn to its customers.

The world’s largest retailer with consumer reach and influence throughout the industry has effectively taken a public stance on the sale of genetically modified fresh food. While public awareness of GM products is at a high and consumers are becoming more and more conscious of the GMO debate, Wal-Mart has placed the subject matter front and center in its produce aisles.

The first crops of genetically modified sweet corn from Monsanto are being harvested right now. This is the corn Wal-Mart will be stocking in their produce departments. It is the same sweet corn that both Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods refused to purchase and sell to their customers.

But according to company representative Dianna Gee, Wal-Mart looked at the GMO issue from both sides and “and after collaborating with a number of respected food safety experts, we see no scientifically validated safety reasons to implement restrictions on this product.” Sadly it appears that the petition they received from Food & Water Watch with almost half a million signatures from consumers emphatically opposed to Wal-Mart’s plans to sell the Monsanto sweet corn couldn’t sway them.

Monsanto maintains that there are important reasons for genetically modified sweet corn – overall, sweet corn accounts for less than 1 percent of all corn acreage in the U.S., but is also responsible for 40% of all corn insecticide treatments. This new genetically modified sweet corn can reduce insecticide use on sweet corn by up to 85%.

The strong opposition to genetically modified foods maintains that there have been more reports that GM foods might be hazardous to our health, than those that prove those foods have no affect on our health. While studies continue on an ongoing basis, there are various pieces of information that cannot be explained that may, in fact, point to our consumption of genetically modified foods. For instance, food allergies have doubled since 1996. Obesity has increased widely throughout the United States.    We have no concrete way of knowing if these situations are in any way connected to genetically modified foods. Food manufacturers are not required to label their ingredients as genetically modified. And it all leads to concerned consumers who are very confused about how to avoid this unwelcome entry into our food supply.

And now, sadly, Wal-Mart will be adding to that confusion. And keep your eyes and ears open for the other retailers that may follow suit. It appears that Safeway and Kroger are avoiding answering the question of whether or not they may be purchasing the Monsanto sweet corn as well. will stay on top of this new Monsanto produce product and report to our community anytime we hear of another retailer introducing the sweet corn on their produce shelves. Read more here:

One bad apple might spoil the whole bunch

And we have until September to try to stop it. wants to encourage our community of concerned food consumers to take action against genetically modified apples. You can do so by reading this blog post and following the Federal Register link you’ll find below to submit your comment on this issue. First, though, here’s the scoop on “arctic apples”.

Okanagan Specialty Fruits has developed a new genetically engineered apple that resists browning. When you slice a natural apple, it turns brown fairly quickly. A solution to this has always been that if you’re including apple slices in your children’s lunch boxes, or arranging them on a fruit plate, is to brush them with a little lemon juice. This slows down the browning process and you really can’t detect that bit of lemon flavor. It’s always worked. So why does this company think that consumers actually need a non-browning apple?

It appears that U.S. consumption of apples is down considerably since the 1980’s and Okanagan Specialty Fruits really believes they’ve solved the problem. By making sliced apples look better to serve or sell, people will buy more of them. It appears that consumers are more likely to purchase apple slices than they are whole apples. These slices are marketed as healthy, ready-to-eat snacks and have been made popular by fast food chains who now offer them as menu items. These slices don’t brown or bruise because they are often coated with vitamin C and calcium that prevent it and also help them stay crisp. Unfortunately that can alter the taste. Additionally, supermarkets can reject whole apples because of minor bruising which is common when the fruit is handled. So it’s assumed that the development of a non-browning, non-bruising apple would help industry sales.

The browning and bruising is a perfectly natural phenomenon and doesn’t make the apple rotten, just unattractive. It’s caused by the apple’s production of polyphenol oxidase. The genetic engineering of this new apple (the arctic apple), is accomplished by inserting a DNA sequence from four of the apple’s own genes that govern the production of polyphenol oxidase. And, voila, no browning.

The important point about the arctic apple is that it is not welcome by the U.S. Apple Association,  the group that represents the apple industry. They are pretty convinced that it’s not in the industry’s own best interest to market a natural fruit that’s been modified genetically. For generations, the apple has carried an image of good health with it and they are concerned that the new GMO version could change the apple’s reputation and adversely affect consumer opinion. And their concerns extend to consumer opinion abroad, as well – about 28% of apples in the U.S. are exported.

Okanagan has applied for regulatory approval of arctic apples with the U.S. Agriculture Department and the application is open for public comment through September 11th, 2012. Click through here and add your comment to those already submitted by over 800 concerned consumers and farmers:

Learn more detailed information about arctic apples here: would also appreciate our community members sharing this blog post within your own networks. Let’s get the word out and educate others about what may soon be coming to a grocery store near you!