This concern is addressed at length on the Arctic apple website. In summary, a) apple trees are not “weedy” so don’t spread on their own, b) bees stay very close to the hive when food is present, c) stewardship standards will further reduce this already low risk and d) in the unlikely scenario cross-pollination were to occur, only some of the resulting plant’s seeds would contain any Arctic material.
Myth #4: Arctic apples won’t be labeled
Fresh market Arctic apples will be clearly labeled as “Arctic” fruit and processed foods containing more than 5% Arctic apples will be identified as well. This is completely voluntary as OSF believes the transparency and choice it offers consumers is of great value.
While the first USDA public comment period is now over, a second one, this time for 30 days, will turn the spotlight on OSF again in the near future. From there, approval is expected in early 2013, at which time Arctic apples can be produced commercially.
In the meantime, Okanagan Specialty Fruits wishes to extend their appreciation to everyone who took the time to learn about Arctic apples and submitted thoughtful comments to the USDA. OSF has always emphasized the importance of transparency and open communication, whether through website, blog, social media, or even by responding to direct questions.
Whatever your personal thoughts on agriculture biotechnology, the more the debate is based on transparency and communication rather than emotion and fear, the better off all involved will be.