british Columbian grower:

Canada: Export markets threatened by GMO apple

Allowing genetically-modified "Arctic" apples in B.C. could threaten the province's apple exports, said Jesse Sandhu, President and COO of B.C. fruit grower JIND Fruit Co. Sandhu worries about international markets blocking the import of B.C. apples due to the risk of GMO cross-pollination.

"The government is trying to open up export markets for B.C. fruit," Sandhu said. "But allowing the GM apple could jeopardize B.C.'s ability to sell fruit in places where GMO imports are banned, now and in future — the European Union, for example. How does that help the B.C. economy?"

An application to grow the GM apples, which have been modified to not brown after being cut, was filed by Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc., a Summerland-based agricultural biotech company. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is accepting public input on the issue until July 3rd, 2012.

"The whole economic rationale behind introducing the Arctic apple is weak," said Sandhu. "OSF was quoted in a Globe and Mail article saying the B.C. apple industry hasn't been profitable for years. I beg to differ, and so does our accountant. There's absolutely nothing wrong with our industry. JIND is proof of that."

Historically, export markets have been concerned about the potential health effects of GM apples.

"You can't just gloss over the possible risks associated with GM foods," he said. "The truth is, nobody fully understands the effects of altering their genetics. The genetic alteration may cause the apple to stop browning, but what other properties of the apple are affected, with what possible health effects? This enzyme that they inactivated could be involved in more than just browning."

For more information:
Darren Darcy
Tel: +1 778-329-4612



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