Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Gene-Altered Apples Get U.S. Approval

U.S. government has approved the commercial planting of Apples, which are genetically engineered to develop the resistant against turning brown, when bruised or sliced. The researcher of Okanagan Specialty Fruits said that it seems that non-browning feature will be popular among both consumers and food service companies as it has ability to make sliced apples more appealing than normal apple.

But many other executives in the apple industry stated that we are worry that the biotech apples are safe to eat or not or will consumers accept it or not? They also express their concern that exports of apples from other countries will like genetically modified foods or not?

The Department of Agriculture, which is responsible for the approval of genetically engineered apples said, that they have considered these issues, however this approval was based on whether; a genetically modified crop poses a threat to other plants or not and the Department of Agriculture confirmed that these apples posed no such risk.

These Arctic apples will be available in the Golden Delicious and Granny Smith varieties as they are genetically engineered with a technique to suppress the production of an enzyme, which causes browning when cells in the apple get injured from slice. The non-browning effect is not comes in existence by putting genes from another species into the apple’s DNA, which is widely used method with most of the genetically altered crops.

In this process, apple’s own genes are manipulated in a way to turn down the browning mechanism. Before that in November 2014, the Agriculture Department has approved a genetically engineered potato, which was developed by the J.R. Simplot Company, which has used similar technique to prevent browning. Now apple will join the community of other genetically modified fruits and vegetables such as; sweet corn and papaya.

A representative of the Agriculture Department said that it will take a time to analyze the issues and all comments, which we have received as in two different public comment periods we have received more than 175,000 comments and it is clear indication that majority have opposed the approval.

While majority in the apple industry had opposed the approval as some of them are saying that they will work to ensure that customers and clients know most apples are not modified and when modified apple’s comes in market so they will be safe. This approval was unusual in Okanagan, which is in Summerland, British Columbia. Most of the genetically modified crops are developed through large chemical and seed companies such as; DuPont Pioneer and Monsanto.

It is expected that Arctic apples will be available in few years because trees have to first be planted and then they will get mature enough to bear fruit. In a recent conversation with press Mr. Carter said that in this spring four growers will plant a total of 20,000 trees within the covering of 20 acres or more and it is expected that by fall of 2016, from 5,000 to 10,000 pounds of apples would come in market, which will be great amount to provide samples to food service companies and for other potential buyers, whereas; in stores product will reach in very small amount.

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