By DONNA BALANCIA
On the heels of the USDA’s deregulation of the Arctic apple — the first genetically engineered apple — consumer and food safety groups say there still is no proof genetically modified foods are safe for human or animal consumption.
The groups, including Consumers Union, Center for Food Safety, Friends of the Earth and Pesticide Action Network, pointed to a January 24 article in the journal Environmental Sciences Europe that says there is no scientific consensus on the safety of GMOs.
Last week, the USDA allowed British Columbia, Canada-based Okanagan Specialty Fruits, the developer of the Arctic apple, to distribute the genetically modified product without labeling to the public. The Arctic apple – in Granny Smith and Golden Delicious varieties is heading to market. Fuji and Gala versions of the Arctic apple are soon to be released.
The Arctic apple was scientifically enhanced so that when sliced, it does not turn brown, and it does not bruise.
“This product is completely unnecessary and poses numerous risks to apple growers, the food industry and consumers,” said Andrew Kimbrell, executive director for Center for Food Safety. “For USDA to turn a blind eye to these risks for such an inessential technological ‘advance’ is foolish and potentially costly.”
The article published in Environmental Sciences Europe is signed by 300 scientists, physicians and scholars. It says the GMO safety claim is “an artificial construct that has been falsely perpetuated.”
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