With biotech foods being widespread for some time now, why is it that so many remain wary of them? It seems the answer is lack of information and understanding, and recent statistics support this theory. The 2012 results of the biennial survey “Consumer Perceptions of Food Technology & Sustainability” from the International Food Information Council found that just 10% of respondents know “a lot” about plant biotechnology and over a quarter (26%) know “nothing at all” (fairly consistent with numbers from previous years). It also appears that those who vehemently oppose biotech represent a small, but vocal, minority since unaided, just 2% of consumers said that biotechnology was a food safety concern and 0% said they were currently avoiding these foods.
The American Medical Association, World Health Organization, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN are just a few reputable organizations who speak to the safety and desirability of approved biotech crops. However, one of the biggest challenges is simply getting consumers accurate information. The coverage of Arctic apples provides an example of this and there a few myths/concerns that there are simple explanations for:
Myth #1: Arctic apples are unsafe/untested
Arctic apples have been studied in field trials in Washington and New York State for over ten years and are one of the most researched and tested foods on the planet. The data demonstrates Arctic apples are just like any other apples until they are cut, bitten, or bruised and don’t brown. They contain no new proteins and are just as safe and healthful as other apples.
Myth #2: Since Arctic apples don’t brown, consumers can’t tell if they are old/damaged
Far from hiding when fruit is old or damaged, Arctic apples actually make it easier to tell when an apple has gone “bad”. Superficial damage that does not affect the quality of the fruit, such as minor finger bruising, won’t show. Arctic fruit looks fresh unless there is significant damage and then the apple probably shouldn’t be eaten. Enzymatic browning is quite different from the rotting that comes with decay, so Arctic fruit will decompose just the same as other apples.
Myth #3: Arctic apple will cross-pollinate with other orchards