The USDA has announced that a 30-day public comment period has begun regarding the sale of the highly controversial new genetically modified apples from the Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc. group.
The GMO apples, dubbed “Arctic Golden Delicious” and “Arctic Granny Smith,” have been engineered so that they will not brown like regular apples by the British Columbia-based company.
The comments taken will only be in response to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s report on the apples and whether or not the apples may cause environmental or plant pest-related risks according to this article, however, and not general comments on GMOs. Comments on their safety and/or concerns over whether or not the non-browning apples may cause problems through people eating them when rotten by mistake are reportedly not being solicited, unfortunately, according to journalist Theresa O’Brien in this article.
Another unsavory part of the process was also pointed out by O’Brien in the article:
‘The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), by its own admission, “encourages developers of GE [genetically engineered] plants to consult with the agency before marketing their products […] the consultation is voluntary.” In other words, the FDA does not have the power to limit the planting or marketing of genetically modified organisms on the basis of human health concerns. No documentation of any consultation between Okanagan / Arctic Apple and the FDA is currently available on the FDA website.”
You can read her full article by clicking here.
Both Gerber, makers of baby foods with all non-GMO ingredients, and even fast food giant McDonald’s have already rejected the GMO apples.
The period runs from now through December 9. According to the GMO apple company’s president, approval is expected within 90 days in the United States. Trial plots are currently in Washington state and New York.
Last time around in 2012, the first public comment period on GMO apples, more than 72,000 public comments were recorded and most of them were opposed. Most were from form responses (side note: it may be better to respond in a unique way this time around and in the future if possible for credibility purposes, although all are helpful).
To submit a comment to the USDA about GMO apples, you can click here.
If approved, the GMO apples would not be labeled as such but instead would most likely bear their trademark “Arctic” name.