There are no two ways to slice this: the genetically-engineered apple that the USDA is about to approve is not good news.
Here is why:
1. Despite what the powers that be are claiming, there is NO conclusive scientific evidence that GMO (genetically modified organisms) are safe for our health, our children’s and their children’s. (Just allow me to share this disturbing news regarding the health issues of pigs that have been fed GMO over several generations.) Feeding our children GMO corn syrup-laced processed food is bad enough. Many of us are aware of the risk. Now, the prospect of GMOs hiding in apples, the very epitome of kids’ healthy snack, is too creepy for words.
2. Genetically-engineered apple orchards are bound to impact our environment. The trick is, we frankly don’t know how. There’s no need to be a Ph.D. in Natural Resources Management to understand that, unfortunately, the long-term impact of modified trees is of a different order of magnitude than that of crops like corn.
3. Just because the risks to human health and the environment are uncertain doesn’t mean that Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc., the company behind the Arctic Apple (as it is called), ought to be given a blank check by the US government. In fact, uncertainty is precisely what Europeans invoke when they apply the precautionary principle. It goes like this: show me it’s safe, and I’ll give you the green light–until then, you’ll sit on the shelf.
Applying the precautionary principle seems reasonable enough, especially when the risk that the USDA is about to gamble with is for no other purpose than… cosmetics. That’s right. The Arctic Apple is genetically-engineered to NOT turn brown. It’s designed to sell well not thanks to its improved nutritional value (it has none), but because it will be able to age and bruise while still looking young, fresh and vibrant in the produce aisle.
If those are not reasons enough to tell the USDA to NOT deregulate this Canadian invention, check here for more arguments why the plan is truly a terrible idea.