Update: GM apple approved in Canada over consumer and farmer objections
On Friday March 20, 2015, Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency announced approval of the genetically modified (GM) apple, trademarked “Arctic Apple”. The GM apple is now legal to sell in Canada and the US. The company says it will start selling GM “non-browning” varieties of Golden Delicious and Granny Smith apple varieties next year. But will any stores actually sell the GM apple?
The apple is genetically modified to not turn brown after being cut. Polls show that almost 70% of Canadians did not want this GM apple approved. Are you one of them?
Grocery chain stores are listening to customers. Please write your letter to the head office of your grocery store this week. Contacts are posted at http://cban.ca/content/view/full/1903 or you can visit the company website to find a phone number. Your letter is very influential. Please send the responses you get to firstname.lastname@example.org
Information and other actions, including a "No GM Apple” pledge form for your small independent store, are posted at www.cban.ca/apple
Today’s press release from CBAN is below. Please send this press release to your local paper. Send your own letter to the editor, to your local newspaper, if you have something to say about the GM apple.
P.S. You can follow us on twitter @biotechaction or on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/cban.canadian.biotechnology.action.network
CBAN denounces federal decision to approve GM apple: GM apple approved over the objections of consumers and farmers
March 23, 2015. Ottawa. The Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) today denounced the Canadian government’s decision to approve the first-ever genetically modified (GM) apple.
“Our government is not listening to Canadians,” said Lucy Sharratt of CBAN. “Fruit growers had asked the government not to approve this GM apple and polls show that a majority of consumers don’t want it on grocery store shelves.”
The GM apple is genetically engineered not to turn brown after being cut. If it gets onto the market, it would be only the second GM fruit sold anywhere in the world, after a Hawaiian-grown papaya, and it would be the first GM fruit to be grown in Canada.
“The GM apple will mislead consumers because it will look fresh even when its not,” said Teresa Lynne of the CBAN member group, Society for a GE Free BC, “The GM apple threatens the reputation of apples as fresh, wholesome food. We don’t need it.”
A 2012 survey commissioned by the BC Fruit Growers' Association and the Federation of Quebec Apple Growers showed that 69% of Canadians didn’t want it approved. Growers are concerned that the GM apple will negatively affect the entire market for apples.
“Growers are right to worry that without clear labelling many consumers will buy fewer apples just to avoid this GM apple,” said Thibault Rehn of the Quebec Network Vigilance OGM, a CBAN member group. “We need our grocery stores to step in to protect the consumer interest and the apple industry by keeping their doors closed to this GM apple.”
The GM apple will not be labeled as genetically modified though the company says that fresh GM apples would be have a sticker bearing the company's trademark “Arctic Apple”. The company promises a similar logo on food products that have ingredients from the GM apple but it’s not clear how this would be implemented or enforced. Sliced GM apples used by the food service industry are unlikely to be labelled.
The US government has also decided to allow commercialization of the GM apple.
More information: Lucy Sharratt, CBAN, cell 613 809 1103; Teresa Lynne, Society for a GE Free BC, 604 475 4457; Thibault Rehn, Vigilance OGM, cell 514 582 1674.
 Poll available at http://www.bcfga.com/files/file/Report%20on%20GE%20survey%20-%20July%203%202012.pdf
CBAN is a campaign coalition of 17 organizations that researches, monitors and raises awareness about issues relating to genetic engineering in food and farming. CBAN members include farmer associations, environmental and social justice organizations, and regional coalitions of grassroots groups. CBAN is a project of Tides Canada Initiatives.