MOMENTUM BUILDING TO MAKE B.C. FREE OF GENETICALLY ENGINEERED FRUITS

SUMMARY: "A vote by municipal leaders at the UBC-M to ban the import, export and domestic production of genetically engineered, GE, fruit could have huge consequences for Summerland company Okanagan Specialty Fruits. Okanagan Specialty Fruits has developed the Arctic Apple, a genetically engineered apple that doesn't brown. The motion asks the province to create legislation that would prohibit GE Fruits. If legislation were created, there's a real possibility that these apple varieties will never end up in supermarkets across the country."

A vote by municipal leaders at the UBC-M to ban the import, export and domestic production of genetically engineered, GE, fruit could have huge consequences for Summerland company Okanagan Specialty Fruits.

Okanagan Specialty Fruits has developed the Arctic Apple, a genetically engineered apple that doesn't brown. The motion asks the province to create legislation that would prohibit GE Fruits.

If legislation were created, there's a real possibility that these apple varieties will never end up in supermarkets across the country.

”That to us is the frustration. We don't get to have our say and so people basically voted and approved a motion that is full of misinformation, full of untruths,” said Neal Carter, president of Okanagan Specialty Fruits.

Opposition to genetically modified foods, in particular the Arctic Apple, has been mounting.

Over the weekend, an anti-GMO protest was held in Kelowna. Opponents say these apples will allow companies to sell rotten fruit to consumers. There are also worries Arctic Apples will contaminate organic crops.

Growers like Allan Patton say Arctic Apples will threaten the B.C. fruit brand.

”It's a big time trade issue, it's entirely legitimate a country will say no to our fruit to protect their crops from being contaminated with GE constructs,” said Patton. ”I feel the same with this kind of thing here.”

Carter is disappointed by what he calls misguided information and says these apples have been studied and are safe.

He says people are mistaking rotting fruit from browning and says these apples will still rot when they go bad. He also says it's highly unlikely Arctic Apples will contaminate other crops.

”The fact that they want to take technology and ban it for a province, a technology that saves lives, globally it's going to feed the planet and ban it from our province,” said Carter. ”I think that's incredibly naive, and ignorant and I just can't fathom where these people are coming from.”

A recent poll asked whether people would be willing to try an Arctic Apple variety. 75% of respondents said ”yes”.

Okanagan Specialty Fruits hopes to have U.S. regulatory approval for Arctic Apples by next year and in Canada by 2014.

SOURCE: CHBC News, Canada
AUTHOR: Eric Szeto
URL: http://www.globaltvbc.com/momentum+building+to+make+bc+free+of+genetical...
DATE: 03.10.2012