Genetically modified apples won't go brown when sliced... but would you eat them?

on Dec 06, 2010 @ 09:10 am

A Canadian biotech company is petitioning the USDA (with plans to also petition Canadian authorities) to approve their "non-browning" apples for sale in the nation's food markets.

Their reasons are that this will allow greatly expand the saleability of fresh-cut apples, and if you've been paying attention to your refrigerated produce section, you know that fresh-cut fruits and veggies are a big business.  Restaurants including McDonald's (their "apple dippers" are a Happy Meal optional side dish) are also targeted markets for the company.  In short, it is a huge business opportunity.

Critics have nicknamed them "botox apples" for the falsely fresh appearance that will fail to alert customers and restaurants to possible spoilage, and more importantly, in distrust of genetically modified foods overall.

Are you concerned about genetically modified foods, or do you think the critique is just a load of tree hugger malarky?

11 Replies

Ali de Bold
Concerning on Dec 06, 2010 @ 11:20 am

I'm sure they'll tell us it's safe, etc but this is not for me. Leave my fruit alone! I have noticed flavoured apples in the stores and if you read the ingredients, it is disturbing. They call them grapples and they are basically grape flavoured apples. Gross!!

poor/non-existant labelling laws on Dec 06, 2010 @ 11:47 am

Unfortunately, there are many genetically modified ingredients already in our grocery shelves and home pantries but we have no idea which they are and there is rarely any way to tell.

"Genetically modified ingredients" can mean many things: it could be something as simple as creating a new variant (such as new colours of roses, new flavours of apples, etc) by age-old cross pollination and selective gardening/farming techniques, or something more potentially worrisome like getting down to the plant genes and adjusting the DNA. There are many shades of gray in this black/white argument.

Many flours (and by extension, wheat and corn products such as breads, pastas, and cereals) have been genetically modified to resist diseases, farming chemicals, and pests. This information is not available on the label and without painstaking investigation you would never ever know that you're eating linguine made from Roundup-resistant grains (Roundup is a common weed killer).

Canola oil is another "genetically engineered" product invented by researchers at my alma mater, the University of Manitoba. I use it in my kitchen and have thus far been (mostly) convinced that, as a well-studied product, it's safe... enough.

Why is this necessary? Aside from providing us, the consumers, with a huge variety of products that - let's face it - we love eat, it is also a huge boon to the agriculture industry. Farming (especially family businesses) is not a lucrative business and the difference between getting a so-so crop and a bumper one with this technology might just be the only thing keeping many of them from bankruptcy. And yes, there is a push to organics - but not every region and not every producer can move over wholescale to organics without a massive price increase for customers.

Can you tell yet that this is a beef for me? ;)

It's a complex issue with no easy answers.

Scary on Dec 06, 2010 @ 11:52 am

They'll tell us it's safe until kids start to develop some new type of life-threatening disease in the future.

Already on Shelves on Dec 06, 2010 @ 12:41 pm

Like what mamluv said, a lot of things in our grocery store is actually genetically modified. Most of it, however, is by pumping more sets of the same chromosomes into the plant.

For example, seedless watermelon are seedless because they have been engineered so that they have an odd number of chromosomes, making them "sterile".

Large strawberries (which I suppose are somewhat normal for us now) are large because by increasing the number of sets of chromosomes, it makes the fruit itself larger.

To be honest, everything we eat has been modified in some way or form. Since the apple is genetically modified and changed by chemicals, I think it's okay to eat. Our bodies should be able to digest it. So long as it doesn't cause alteration in our DNA.

Not ok on Jan 01, 2011 @ 01:33 pm

I heard about these apples and I'm just really not ok with it. I know I will avoid buying them!

Grapples! on Jan 02, 2011 @ 11:06 pm

I was a produce manager for a organic company and grapples were a big no no! They are marketed brands of Fuji or Gala apple that have been specially treated to make the flesh taste like a grape
The product is created by a liquid infusion process
which includes concentrated natural and artificial grape flavor and water as its primary ingredients.Gross!I have tried them and they just make you shiver not normal at all.

We also had a salesman wanting us to sell apples that in the orchard as they grow have stencils attached to them so that the sun would leave the mark inside the stencil.They were bizarre.The samples he brought said Congratulations,Happy Birthday but he said they could do any kind of stencils.We declined to sell these.


Cool idea though! on Jan 03, 2011 @ 05:42 pm

The stencils sound like a neat idea, you have to admit! As a novelty item or a gift, not as regular produce, however!

... on Jan 05, 2011 @ 01:44 pm

I've never heard of "grapples", sounds weird.

I definitely do feel concerned about all the genetically modified foods in our grocery stores. But honestly, it's pretty difficult to avoid if you shop at major chain markets. This strikes the same worry as seedless watermelons, oversized strawberries (if you've grown your own strawberries au natural you will know that the massive ones in the grocery stores are not natural) or perfect shaped cucumbers.

square eggs on Jan 05, 2011 @ 02:11 pm

I don't remember where I heard it, but apparently someone wanted to make square eggs, which would be much more practical for shipping and bring down the cost of production.

At which point, all I could think about were those poor hens... Sheesh, they have it bad enough, don't they?

Size matters on Jan 05, 2011 @ 04:30 pm

I get so much satisfaction when I bite into one of those huge apples (the kind you have to hold with two hands). I guess now I know who to thank:

Thank you genetically modified ingredients!


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