Recently, the USDA authorized the production of a new type of genetically engineered apple, called Arctic Apples. This new, chemically laced apple will be fabricated with an additional gene that halts the oxidation process of the fruit. In other words, these apples will “brown” at a much slower rate than normal. This entails that lab-developed fruits will be produced and sold to consumers, despite the fact that these apples are genetically modified with ingredients that could never be found in nature. This landmark pronouncement will increase the availability of GMO (genetically modified organism) products in the produce aisle, which currently only offers a limited quantity of GMO foods.
The motive behind creating the Arctic Apple is to reduce waste by making all apples more visually appealing. By altering the structure to prevent “browning,” consumers will be more likely to purchase apples that may not be as fresh, but have the appearance of freshness. The “browning” of an apple is a main gauge for making determinations on the freshness of an apple, and the Arctic Apple will NOT require to be labeled. Not only does this deceive consumers into believing they are consuming a fresh apple, when in fact they are eating apples close to being rotten, but it also can lead to health ailments, such as food allergies, digestive issues, and even potentially serious diseases and disorders that have been connected to GMOs.
In addition, the gene also helps protect against harmful pathogens. The modification of the gene results in apple trees being more vulnerable to bacteria and antibodies, and therefore requiring additional pesticides chemical additives that can negatively impact consumer health and the environment.
These genetic changes to our apples are not only unnecessary, but also hazardous to our health. The potential risks of GMO apples far outweigh any aesthetic benefit. As consumers, we have faith that the food we consume is safe, accessible, and sustainable, and this decision by the USDA violates that trust.