GMO Food: The American Apple Is Under Attack
GMO food manufacturers are seeking approval to grow GM apples. Yes. Genetically modified apples. This comes right after big agribusiness defeated Initiative 522 in Washington. “The apple state.” Turning apples into yet another GMO food could be a devastating blow to the great Northwest state. Washington and apples go together like Idaho and potatoes.
Growing GMO apples has been field tested for ten years. The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is now seeking public comments on its “environmental and plant risk assessment” for genetically modified apples for the next 30 days.
APHIS is drawing a final conclusion to allow these GM apples to be added to the growing list of GMO foods.
According to the Capital Press (an agricultural publication), this is the final stages of the USDA’s consideration to allow the growing and sales of genetically modified apples in the US. The last chance to comment began Nov. 8, and will end on Dec. 9. There’s a link provided below if you’d like to weigh in on the issue.
The APHIS is an organization that works within the USDA infrastructure and oversees the regulation of genetically engineered, or GMO foods. (1)
The good ‘ol homegrown apple is headed down the dark and convoluted path of becoming the next “frankenfood.” The fruit that once bounced off Newton’s head and led him to discover gravity, may soon be falling to the demands of bioengineering.
“As American as apple pie” may take on a whole new meaning if APHIS decides to finalize the genetically modified apple.
The argument of safety concerns with GMO foods continues to be debated across the nation.
On the PRO-GMO foods side, you have multinational corporations. Their argument against labeling GMO food is that consumers are more likely to steer away from these products once labeled. They also state that the added cost of labeling GMO foods will increase food prices.
On the NON-GMO foods side of this debate, there’s a grassroots campaign consisting mostly of consumers. There’s a few organic food companies demanding to label GMO foods. Consumers want to know what they’re eating. They want the right to choose. These are basic human rights already provided by more than 60 countries around the world including Ethiopia.
Yet, here in the U.S., these GMO food conglomerates continue to fight the labeling of GMOs. Organic farmers let consumers know their food is not a GMO food by labeling it organic.
The organic farmer takes the time and energy to grow food as it’s been grown for thousands of years. But having to “certify” food as organic costs more. They’re being penalized with more costs. Yet GMO food manufacturers who alter food beyond recognition of its original state get off scot-free.
That’s why organic food can typically cost more. Organic farmers have to be “certified” by government regulation to ensure their food is safe for you to eat.
Yet, big agribusiness can spray food with pesticides and herbicides. They use machinations in food processing that completely alter the GMO food from it’s original, natural state…and they don’t pay a dime!
Big food companies should label their GMO food products just out of decency for the consumer.
But I digress…let’s get back to the All American Apple.
Despite the obvious suppression of GMO food studies, consumers are learning the ill effects of these GMO foods. Not just on our health, but our environment, as well as social structure. The devastation of the “GMO food experiment” could fill the Library of Congress.
What may be even more important, yet completely overlooked or ignored, is that GMO food seeds will have to continually be purchased. No more taking seeds from the crops yields. That’s because GMO food seeds are designed not to reproduce. Farmers are forced to buy seeds injected with poisons. Two problems arise from this.
1) Mother Nature’s ecological system that naturally reproduces the seeds to bear more fruit and veggies is being destroyed.
2) Our food supply will become dependent on a corporation because they hold the patent to these genetically altered seeds.
In other words, growing food may become a crime unless you’re licensed, regulated, and “approved” as a GMO food grower by the corporation who owns the patent.
Even if GMO foods pass the safety obstacle — which they still have yet to do — there’s a MUCH bigger problem. A problem so big, that it needs careful consideration for the sake of posterity. Because if one company, or even a handful of companies owns the patents on their genetically engineered seeds, they own the food supply.
Here’s a very real, not-to-distant dystopian future under this plan:
“Farmers have been using GM seeds for so long, that Mother Nature’s natural act of reproducing herself through seed bearing is practically non-existent. Now these GMO foods become dependent upon the “seed supplier.” The seed supplier was once Mother Nature. There were no dues. No invoices. No laws. She was the law and that’s all there was. But Mother Nature is no longer fertile. We have killed her.”
Do we really want that? No. Of course not.
There’s no reason why food manufacturers using GMO foods shouldn’t bear the cost of labeling them. And farmers who are growing food the same way it’s been done for thousands of years shouldn’t have to be labeled, inspected and certified as organic.
Organic is natural. Adding poisons and chemicals to foods in an attempt to get bigger yields is not. Why should natural farmers bear the cost why the abusers get off scot-free?
Which brings me to the another reason you may want to say something about the good ‘ol apple being genetically modified…your right to know.
I have no qualms with science trying to make things better. However, I do have a problem with the American people unwittingly becoming guinea pigs for agribusiness. If companies like Okanagan Specialty Fruits want to grow genetically modified apples, by all means let them…but require them to label those apples as such before entering the consumer marketplace.
Is that really to much to ask?
Neal Carter, the president Okanagan Specialty Fruits, should demand it. There’s nothing better than good old fashioned honesty to keep a company out of hot water, and their consumers loyal.
The argument that labeling GMO foods will cost consumers more is a lame excuse. Food companies change their packaging constantly as part of their marketing plan. Take a look at some recent examples with High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS).
The dangers of HFCS were leaked, and few media outlets actually ran the story. The story grew, and consumers started avoiding HFCS. Now many breads, peanut butters and other food items “proudly” state “NO-High-Fructose-Corn-Syrup.” Your voice as a consumer can make a difference.
And you can make a difference now regarding apples if you choose to do so. Simply visit the Office of the Federal Register at:
http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=APHIS-2012-0025-1938 to post a comment on how you feel about genetically modified apples.
You can also submit comments at https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2013/11/08/2013-26792/okanagan-specialty-fruits-inc-availability-of-plant-pest-risk-assessment-and-environmental and click the SUBMIT A FORMAL COMMENT in the upper right side of the page.
You have until December 9th to make a statement about genetically modifying apples.
As a side note, the first U.S. public comment period regarding apples was in 2012. There were a total of 72,745 public comments. The majority were opposed to GM apples. Here we are a year later looking at the same issue. GMO food comapnies are relentless. They have deep pockets and want to kill Mother Nature and own the rights to GMO food seeds. But even big agribusiness knows that if there’s enough opposition, their venture won’t be profitable.
As the proliferation of GMOs continues to be pushed into the marketplace, our vigilance for labeling of GMOs must also increase. This latest attempt to “fake our food” is sure to be another catalyst to fuel the moral reasons why GMO labeling must occur.
Go to https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2013/11/08/2013-26792/okanagan-specialty-fruits-inc-availability-of-plant-pest-risk-assessment-and-environmental now, and click the SUBMIT A FORMAL COMMENT in the upper right side of the page. Tell the APHIS that while GMO food health issues remain uncertain, labeling should be a part of any GMO food program.
You can also submit a comment at Arctic Apples:
Brett Allen is the author of the The NO-GMO Diet
Facebook Page at: https://www.facebook.com/noGMOdiet