GE Free BC and CBAN press release on the GE apple

Press Release – For Immediate Release

Canadian Groups Demand Market Stay Closed to GM Apple, as US Government Approves Genetically Modified “Non-Browning” Apple

February 13, 2015. Ottawa. The Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) and the Society for a GE Free BC are raising the alarm after learning that the US government has approved the first genetically modified (GM) apple.

“The Canadian market needs to remain closed to this GM apple,” said Lucy Sharratt of CBAN. “Health Canada should not approve this apple. Consumers and farmers simply don’t want it on the market.”

The small BC company, Okanagan Specialty Fruits, owns the GM apple which is genetically modified (also called genetically engineered) to not turn brown after being cut, for 15-18 days according to the company. If approved by Canadian regulators, this would be the second GM fruit on the market anywhere in the world, after a US-grown papaya, and it would be the first GM fruit grown in Canada.

The US Department of Agriculture has approved the GM apple for growing and sale in the US, and the US Food and Drug Administration is now engaging in a voluntary food safety assessment consultation with the company.

A 2012 survey commissioned by the BC Fruit Growers’ Association and the Federation of Quebec Apple Growers showed that 69% of Canadians don’t want it approved.[1] Just last year, a petition asking the BC government for a moratorium on the GM apple was submitted with over 7,000 signatures, gathered by the Society for a GE Free BC in 20 communities.

“This apple is an outrage,” said Teresa Lynne of the Society for a GE Free BC, “We don’t need it and we don’t want it.”

The company says that GM apples in grocery stores would be labeled with the company’s trademark, but they will not be clearly labeled as genetically modified. The company promises a similar label on any food products that have ingredients from the GM apple but it’s not clear how this would be implemented or enforced.

“We would never sell this GM apple in our stores. Our customers don’t want it and I don’t see a benefit for the apple industry,” said Robert Horricks, BC orchardist and CEO of Blush Lane Organic Markets, Alberta.

Over 77 stores as well as two food distributors in BC, and some across the country, have already pledged not to sell the GM apple. Major food companies including McDonald’s and Gerber have already stated that they have no plans to source or sell this genetically modified apple.[2]

“All Canadian retailers and food manufacturers should urgently reassure their customers that they will never sell or use this GM apple,” said Sharratt.

The BC Fruit Growers Association has already asked the Canadian government to halt approval of the GM apple because of market rejection concerns.

Organic apple growers in BC have long opposed the GM apple because of contamination concerns.

– 30 –

For more information: Lucy Sharratt, CBAN, 613 809 1103; Teresa Lynne, Society for a GE Free BC, 604 475 4457; Robert Horricks, Blush Lane Organic Markets, 403 869 9594

Notes:

[1] Poll available at http://www.bcfga.com/files/file/Report%20on%20GE%20survey%20-%20July%203%202012.pdf

[2] Statements from McDonalds and Gerber available at http://www.foe.org/projects/food-and-technology/genetic-engineering/no-gmo-apples

Advertisements

One response to “GE Free BC and CBAN press release on the GE apple

  1. If it doesn’t brown then how can you tell how old it is?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s