Target: Margaret A. Hamburg, Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, and Tom Vilsack, United States Secretary of Agriculture
Goal: Test the genetically modified “Arctic Apple” for safety and ban its sale if it isn’t proven safe for consumption
The Arctic Apple, a genetically modified apple designed not to turn brown when sliced, is likely to be approved by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for growing and selling in the United States this year. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not done any safety tests on it and is not required to.
The majority of crops in America are genetically modified. Little safety testing has been done on genetically modified food, but a study in China did find dangerous RNA in the blood of people who ate genetically modified rice, putting them at risk of high cholesterol levels. The type of RNA found in genetically modified food is meant to make the plant more resistant to disease, but when ingested by humans it can lead to cancer, Alzheimer’s, and other health problems.
The Arctic Apple is considered a revolutionary technology in genetically modified food. While most genetically engineered plants are designed to make new proteins, the Arctic Apple produces a new double-strand of RNA that changes how genes are expressed. The gene that makes apples turn brown when exposed to oxygen will be completely shut off. Research has found that double-stranded RNAs can be transferred to humans and animals through food, with the potential to shut off our genes too.
If that wasn’t bad enough, genetically modified apples have been found to carry 42 different pesticides, including organophosphates, which are used as the basis of nerve gases for chemical warfare. Tests conducted during apple season showed pesticide spikes in childrens’ urine that exceeded government-defined safety levels. The Arctic Apple is even worse: the shut-off genes that turn the apple brown also serve to ward off insects, so even more pesticides will be added to it. Worst of all, the Arctic Apple is not going to be labeled, so consumers will have a hard time avoiding it if it is indeed put on shelves.
The Arctic Apple is manufactured by Okanagan Specialty Fruits. The Biotech Industry Organization will gather on April 23 in Chicago, where BIOTECanada will present its “Gold Leaf Award for Early Stage Agriculture” to Okanagan Specialty Fruits for its invention. The Organic Consumers Association is going to set up a picket line at the meeting to protest the approval of the Arctic Apple.
It is inexcusable that the USDA and FDA are willing to allow corporations to poison the food supply in order to gather their lobbyists’ support. Demand that the FDA test the Arctic Apple for safety, and that the USDA ban the apple if it is not proven safe for consumption.
Dear Ms. Hamburg and Mr. Vilsack,
We are greatly concerned about the future sale of Okanagan Specialty Fruits’ genetically modified “Arctic Apple.” Genetically modified food in general can be damaging, but the Arctic Apple is likely to be even more so.
The Arctic Apple has double-strand RNA in it: a genetic material that shuts off certain genes. The dsRNA shuts down polyphenol oxidase, the gene that turns apples brown when exposed to oxygen. Studies have shown that when people ingest food with dsRNAs, they can be transferred to us and shut off human genes too.
Genetically modified apples have been found to contain 42 different pesticides, many of which contain organophosphates, the bases used in nerve gas. During apple season, it was discovered that pesticide levels in children’s urine rocket above government-defined safety levels. In the case of Arctic Apples, polyphenol oxidase wards off insects as well as turning apples brown, so even more pesticides will be used to counteract the effect of shutting off the plants’ natural defense.
The FDA has done little research on the effects of genetically modified food, and will not be required to test Arctic Apples for safety. But, for the sake of our health, we demand that the FDA test the chemicals in Arctic Apples for safety and that the USDA ban the sale of Arctic Apples if they are not fit for consumption. Nothing is worth allowing Okanagan Specialty Foods to poison the food supply.
[Your Name Here]