Sunday, February 15, 2015

When Is An Apple, NOT An Apple?

GMOs invade fruit industry: Apples, pears, cherries and peaches to all become unlabeled GMO

Genetically modified apples have been approved by the industry-corrupted USDA, a federal regulator that accomplishes for the biotech industry the same thing the FDA achieves for Big Pharma: unlimited profits, lax regulation and a ready willingness to accept fabricated "science" as fact.

"The USDA's environmental review received 73,000 comments that overwhelmingly opposed the commercialization of Arctic Apples," explains a press release from Food & Water Watch. [1]

The GMO apple that just received approval was developed by the Okanagan Specialty Fruits company, which says it "...married the best of nature with the best of science."

The road to Hell, of course, is paved with the best of intentions, and that's the problem with all these GMOs: Modern science is rolling the dice with a self-replicating "genetic pollution" scenario that could play out in ways that no scientist ever anticipated. As the Food & Water Watch press release explains:

The USDA has neglected to look at the full range of risks from these apples. In its environmental assessment, the USDA glossed over the possibility of unintentional effects associated with the technology used to engineer these apples, potential economic impacts on the U.S. and international apple market, effects of potential contamination for non-GMO and organic apple growers and the impact of the non-browning gene silencing which also can weaken plant defenses and plant health.

In addition to genetically modified apples, the Okanagan Specialty Fruits company also promises to roll out genetically modified peaches, cherries and pears. [3- See  full article link below for the resource link]

Suppression of the PPO gene may lead to less nutritious fruits

To achieve its GMO apples, the Okanagan fruit company has developed a way to reduce the natural browning of apples that takes place after they are sliced. This is accomplished by genetically suppressing the polyphenol oxidase (PPO) gene.

What's wrong with playing around with the PPO gene? Suppressing this gene may have unintended consequences such as reducing the fruit's nutritional polyphenols (natural medicinal compounds). Thus, this genetic alteration of the apple might strip from the apple many of its health-promoting qualities. Yes, the apple would still physically resemble a normal, natural apple, but it would be genetically lacking the very thing that has long contributed to the truism, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away."

But an apple from Okanagan might keep the nutrients away, feeding you what I call "shadow food" that looks like real food but is lacking the nutrients of real food.

I'm not talking about macronutrients like magnesium, calcium, fiber and sugars. Those will all be present in identical quantities: I'm talking about the medicinal phytochemicals such as the very polyphenols that give apples some measure of medicinal value.

Read about medicinal polyphenols at this Life Extension web page which explains the valuable medicinal roles of apple polyphenols such as phloridzin.

This page on also covers many of the apple's polyphenol nutrients, revealing their anti-cancer, anti-diabetes and anti-heart disease properties.

Food & Water Watch adds:

The particular gene targeted by this technology allows the apples to be sliced without turning brown, which could mislead consumers into thinking they are eating fresh apples when they might be eating apples on the verge of rotting. Browning is an important indicator to consumers in determining the freshness of an apple or apple slice. The silenced gene is also heavily involved in a plant's natural defense against pests and pathogens, which could lead to trees that are less healthy than non-GMO apples and rely on more chemical treatments to ward off pests and disease.

It's not difficult to see that if the genetic modification of fruits is allowed to invade the food supply with pears, cherries, oranges, bananas, peaches and more, we may end up with a fruit industry feeding Americans "shadow foods" that look misleadingly healthy when they really aren't.

Will this apple company resort to the same shameless tactics of slander, defamation and character assassination used by the U.S. biotech industry?

It's too early to tell whether the Okanagan Specialty Fruits company is going to attempt the same sort of despicable tactics against health-conscious consumers, reporters and health advocates, but the company's founder, Neal Carter, insists biotechnology is "the next frontier." He also claims, in utter ignorance of an extraordinary amount of scientific research on GMOs and glyphosate, that "There is no scientific evidence that the risks associated with biotechnology are any greater than those of traditional methods of breeding and selection." [2- See  full article link below for the resource link]

Yawn. It sounds like the same sort of denialist drivel you'd find on Wikipedia, a disinfo hub dominated by editorial trolls on the payroll of biotech and pharma companies whose job is to trash the reputations of truth-telling journalists, bloggers and authors.

Neal Carter has already stated he is opposed to honest labeling of his company's apples as GMO. According to the New York Times, "Mr. Carter said apples would be labeled as Arctic, with links to the company's website, so consumers could figure out that the fruit was engineered. But he said that labeling the fruit as genetically modified would only be 'demonizing' it." [4- See  full article link below for the resource link]

In other words, Carter is already opposed to the honest GMO labeling of his genetically modified fruits. He only wants to label the GMO apples "Arctic," and then claim that the brand name is enough because people can go online and do their own research to find out the apples are genetically modified. The rationalization of all this is patently absurd. The word "Arctic" does not mean "GMO" in the minds of consumers. Not yet, anyway.

The fact that all these biotech people think they're saviors to the food industry -- yet they refuse to support consumer choice through honest labeling -- further demonstrates the ethical lapses that are almost universal in biotech today. Then again, you really have to be a horrible person in the first place to profit from creating the risk of runaway genetic pollution that might theoretically damage all the world's fruits crops in unforeseeable ways.

That's the moniker of biotech: No risk to Mother Nature over the next century is too large to make another buck today.

U.S. apple industry to suffer as a result of non-labeled GMO apples

The refusal to label genetically modified apples in a clear manner will, of course, damage consumer trust in ALL apples.

The U.S. Apple Association has already begun to side with the GMO industry. As the New York Times reports:

"That clear identification of the Arctic brand will help consumers make clear, informed choices if Okanagan apples do become available in stores in a few years," Wendy Brannen, director of consumer health and public relations for the U.S. Apple Association, said in an email.

That's only a half-truth, of course. The clear identification of the Arctic brand is not at all a clear indication of GMO status. Once news of GMO apples begins to spread, many consumers will not be aware of (or not remember) which brand is GMO, so they will simply shun all apples and choose some other fruit instead.

If I were a non-GMO apple producer, I'd be pretty worried about the market consequences of a non-labeled genetically modified apple entering the marketplace, potentially ruining the reputation of all apples.

Word of GMO apples will spread like wildfire across food-conscious consumers, of course. It is the unlabeled GMO status that has largely ruined the reputation of soy and canola oil over the last few years, and food companies experiencing the most growth are those who are openly touting Non-GMO Project Verified status and sourcing non-GMO ingredients.

If the word "apple" raises a big question mark in the minds of consumers, then you're going to see plummeting sales of:

* fresh apples
* apple sauce
* apple juice
* apple pies
* apple snacks

The only way to prevent this from happening is to require honest GMO labeling of all foods so that consumers can make an informed choice. With honest labeling, you restore a free market approach that allows consumers to support the companies they wish to promote.

That's why all efforts to block GMO labeling are anti-choice, anti-free-market and anti-consumer rights.