B.C. stores refuse to sell locally developed GMO apples
The genetically modified Arctic Apple is expected to get a frosty response from some grocery stores across the province if it is approved by Health Canada this year.
Developed by Summerland-based Okanagan Specialty Fruit, the apple was engineered to not turn brown and would be the first genetically modified fruit to be grown in the province.
Michael Volker of the Burnaby-based Health Action Network Society said the fruit should be forbidden.
“We’re concerned about it from a public health issue,” Volker said. “Unlike some of the other genetically modified food which ends up in processed food in smaller quantities, this apple is going to go from the shelf to your mouth without anything in between.”
About 20 stores and fruit stands on Monday came out and said they would not be selling the Arctic Apple after the network sent out a letter of concern in March.
The British Columbia Fruit Growers’ Association has also come out against the apple, but the organization said it’s due to concerns about a GMO apple damaging the provincial brand.
Organic farmers in the organization are worried about possible contamination of their products.
Association president Fred Steele said the membership has expressed fear of a marketing backlash, adding the apple is also up for approval in the U.S., where it is being viewed with caution.
“If it got approved, the Americans are hoping it would be approved by us first,” Steele said. “We hope it would be approved in the states first cause I think there will be considerable resistance to it.”
He said the action taken if the apple is approved will be in the hands of his members.
Okanagan Specialty Fruit would not comment on the controversy, referring 24 hours to its website.