Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Opposition to GM apple on the rise

Okanagan Specialty Fruits/New York Times
Dear Saanich South,

It is a very busy time at the Legislature - we are trying to get as much business done as possible during the last of our all-too-few sittings for this term. One of an MLAs roles is to present petitions to the Legislative Assembly. Today I will be presenting one that concerns an issue that I know is important to many Saanich South residents.

This petition, signed by more than 5500 BC residents, calls on the BC Legislature to “take urgent action to halt the commercial introduction of a genetically modified apple”.

A small BC company, Okanagan Specialty Fruits has licensed technology it claims produces a “non-browning” apple. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is currently considering an application to allow this apple to be produced commercially.

Today I again ask the BC Ministry of Agriculture to stop avoiding this issue and listen to the thousands of consumers, farmers and stakeholders who are demanding their government actively oppose growing genetically modified apples in BC.

The effect of this genetic modification is that it will make it harder to see bruises and discolouration - but those are important visual cues people use before deciding to take a bite. It is irresponsible for this government to stand idly by while a single commercial interest risks the excellent reputation of the entire BC fruit industry.

The BC Fruit Growers Association strongly opposes the Arctic Apple for this very reason. It recently commissioned a consumer survey which found that 69% of Canadians don’t want the GM apple.

You can read more about this apple in a recent New York Times article: That Fresh Look, Genetically Buffed.

The petition was collected by volunteers from more than a dozens communities in BC and spear-headed by organizations including the non-partisan Okanagan Greens Society.  Contact: Wendy Wright, 250 469 1881.