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. 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.
“All Canadian retailers and food manufacturers should urgently reassure
their customers that they will never sell or use this GM apple,” said
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
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
Statements from McDonalds and Gerber available at: http://www.foe.org/projects/food-and-technology/genetic-engineering/no-gmo-apples
Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator
Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) Collaborative Campaigning for
Food Sovereignty and Environmental Justice Suite 206, 180 Metcalfe Street
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K2P 1P5
Phone: 613 241 2267 ext. 25
Fax: 613 241 2506
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