Millions of apples are packed into our children's lunches every day by parents happy to provide a treat they know is healthy and delicious. But now, for the first time, the USDA could let a safe, popular fruit be replaced by a poorly tested and potentially toxic product from a weird science experiment.
Genetically modified apples that won't turn brown when cut are on a fast-track to USDA approval. They're intended for the fresh-sliced apple market, but could find their way into the produce aisle shelves and into juice, juice-sweetened snacks, applesauce and baby foods, all of which are mostly consumed by children. No labeling would be required.
Like other GMO foods, these apples are likely to be approved without any public, peer-reviewed study of their long-term effects. USDA wants to let food producers experiment further on us in its quest to make a minor cosmetic improvement to a fruit intended for mass human consumption.
Apple growers' industry associations representing over 60 percent of commercial orchards have already come out against GMO apples.1Many are concerned about reduced consumer confidence in the apple market, while some organic growers are concerned that pollen contamination from GMO orchards could endanger their organic certification.2
Consumer advocates worry that these apples will look fresh when they aren't, posing a new food safety threat — a threat no one has to worry about with conventional apples.3And once they're sold into the food processined-food market, they could end up in any product that uses apples.
As an activist and consumer, you are in a powerful position to pressure leading U.S. grocery stores to reject these genetically modified apples, which may turn out to be toxic for our children.
If this unlabeled, potentially dangerous fruit succeeds, it will only be the first of many. If there are long-term consequences to eating genetically modified fruit we won't find out under our current regulatory climate until much too late.
That's why we need to act now, before these apples hit the shelves at our local grocery stores. Tell grocery store owners to keep these mutant apples out of our shopping carts.