Guess who’s not hating on GMOs — you’ll be surprised - The Packer

Guess who’s not hating on GMOs — you’ll be surprised

08/29/2014 10:17:00 AM
Chris Koger

Chris Koger, news editorChris Koger, news editorIt looks like soon I’ll have to update my standard response when someone comments on our website about genetically modified fruits and vegetables.

“There are likely no GMO products in your produce department, although some squash, corn and Hawaiian papayas have been altered without the traditional crossbreeding or selective breeding methods,” is what I usually say. Now I’ll have to add apples and potatoes.

Judging from comments at the U.S. Apple Association Crop Outlook and Marketing Conference I attended and the Idaho Grower-Shippers Association Conference that a colleague went to, GMO versions of apples and potatoes will be approved by the Food and Drug Administration. It’s not a matter of if, but when.

The Arctic apple, which has a non-browning trait, and Innate potato, which cuts down on bruising and acrylamides, are aimed at the processing market.

The Arctic apple’s biggest customer will be fresh-cut, which continues to grow dramatically. At McDonald’s, the fresh-cut sliced apples paved the way for other fresh fruit as a Happy Meal side to replace french fries (Cuties clementines passed market testing in Austin, Texas, and small bananas are now a possibility).

Even as national apple crop production estimates are at their third-highest, industry leaders aren’t too concerned. One reason cited by several is the growth in the sliced-apple category at foodservice and retail.

Although the apple association has come out against the approval of the Arctic apple — with concerns that anti-GMO blowback will affect sales of all apples — there wasn’t a sense of controversy or doom surrounding its eventual FDA approval. As the head of one state’s apple association said, “there’s nothing to do but let the market decide.”

On the face of it, there seems to be a strange double standard at work. Growers, on the average, embrace GMO technology as a tool to bring out desirable traits, like disease-fighting capabilities such as the sunspot virus-free Hawaiian papaya.

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Mischa Popoff    
Greenville TX  |  August, 30, 2014 at 07:15 PM

Why does The Packer continue to run stories about opposition to the science of genetic engineering without so much as mentioning organic activists? No... not organic farmers. They don't care if their neighbors grow GMO crops. Why would they? I'm talking about urban organic activists who seek to BAN the perfectly safe science of genetic engineering. Why not mention them? Aren't they the ones behind the opposition to GMOs in America?

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