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GMO apples approved despite fierce opposition


Arctic apple

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(NaturalNews) Proof that USDA serves biotech interests while betraying the people. The world has gone completely mad. While the average American mindlessly obsesses over whether or not a stupid image-gone-viral of a dress depicts white and gold colors or black and blue, the federal agency tasked with protecting the integrity of our food supply has indiscriminately green-lighted a new genetically modified organism (GMOs) for human consumption that threatens to unleash a Pandora's box of destruction on both the apple industry and public health.

Okanagan Specialty Fruits' Arctic apple, which will initially come in Granny Smith and Golden Delicious varieties, and later Fuji and Gala, has received approval from the Department of Agriculture (USDA) despite a lack of safety data showing that it won't harm humans or pollute non-GMO and organic apple stocks. The "frankenfruit" has reportedly been genetically engineered to not brown after bruising or being sliced, extending its shelf life and making it more palatable when presented after being cut.

Arctic apples were developed using a relatively new genetic engineering process known as RNA interference (RNAi), or gene silencing, that is based on the directly manipulation of RNA molecules. According to the Center for Food Safety (CFS), Arctic apples have been artificially programmed not to express a gene normally responsible for browning, known as the polyphenol oxidase (PPO) enzyme.

Reckless USDA decision to approve Arctic apples could decimate the US apple industry

Like with nearly every other previous GMO approval, there are a number of important factors that weren't even considered by the USDA. One of these is Okanagan's failure to evaluate how the PPO gene functions in an apple other than just browning it. By switching this gene "off," a chain effect may occur that results in the apple becoming poisonous, for instance, either to animals, pollinators or humans -- or perhaps all of these.

"This decision is scientifically irresponsible and misguided," stated Dr. Doug Gurian-Sherman, a senior scientist at CFS. "The agency has failed to analyze whether suppressing fruit browning with these novel RNAs impacts the rest of the gene family in the tree, or whether there are off-target impacts on other genes."

A number of recent studies, including this one published in the journal Environment International back in 2013, reveal that RNAi tweaking that supposedly targets just one gene may inadvertently affect other genes as well, turning them on or off in unpredictable or unanticipated ways.

"This product is completely unnecessary and poses numerous risks to apple growers, the food industry and consumers," added Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of CFS, about the decision. "For USDA to turn a blind eye to these risks for such an inessential technological 'advance' is foolish and potentially costly."

The only safe food these days is non-US food that hasn't been tampered with

If only avoiding this transgenic monstrosity were as simple as just not buying it. But the sad reality is that, like with other GMOs currently grown in the U.S., the potential for cross-contamination is almost a given. Bees, butterflies and other pollinators will surely visit Arctic apple trees and carry their pollen to non-GMO and organic apple trees, contaminating the entire stock.

Perhaps not surprising is the disturbing fact that Arctic apples, which were developed in Canada, won't be grown anywhere in Canada, at least for now. Only the U.S. has deregulated their commercial cultivation, which more than 520 commercial tree fruit growers just in the Okanagan region of Canada have opposed in order to protect their crops.

"The USDA has let down U.S. apple growers and the public by wasting resources on this useless and risky food," says EcoWatch. "To make matters worse, these apples will not be required to be labeled and consumers will not know that the sliced apples they pack in their children's lunches were made through genetic engineering."

Sources:

http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org

http://www.vernonmorningstar.com

http://www.cnbc.com

http://www.non-gmoreport.com

http://ecowatch.com

http://www.nytimes.com

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