Genetically modified apples will be put to sale for the first time in the US supermarkets this February amidst protests from various quarters. The GM apple- branded as Arctic Apples- would not go brown, claims the manufacture, who sees this as convenience rather than genetic modification, whereas critics call this “understudied, unlabelled and unnecessary”. The Arctic apple would be available to the public at Midwestern grocery stores, starting 1 February. The trial would be available in 10 locations, before hitting the streets officially in the autumn.
Neal Carter, founder of Okanagan Specialty Fruits, which made the Arctic Apple said: “We see this as less about genetic modification and more about convenience. I think consumers are very ready for apples that don’t go brown. Everyone can identify with that ‘yuck’ factor.” The company has spent 20 years in research before hitting the market. The US Department of Agriculture ruled, in February 2015, the apple posed no significant health and environmental risks.
GM advocates see this as a huge landmark as they believe GM food would curb hunger and has better health benefits. It is also hailed to have improved flavor and pesticide free. But protesters blame this to hurt small farmers among other concerns that includes cross-pollination and the subsequent decimation of animal and plant species and the dangers to allergy sufferers.
First commercially grown genetically modified food product was the Flavr Savr tomato, in 1994. Since then potatoes, canola, maize, cotton and golden rice were among the huge variety of food crops that were genetically modified for mass production. Ever since the discovery of DNA and the use of modified microbial enzymes, scientists have been trying to create genetically modified crops. European Union, unlike Americas has a rigorous regulations regarding genetically modified food cultivation.