Take Action in BC: Stop the GM Apple
This year or next, the small BC company called Okanagan Specialty Fruits could get approval in Canada and the U.S. for its GM “non-browning” apple, engineered to keep from going brown after being cut. Contamination from GM apples threatens the future of BC apples, and the farmers who grow them. BC apple growers have already rejected the GM apple and polls show 69% of Canadians oppose it! For more information on the GM apple please see http://www.cban.ca/apple
- Talk to your local grocery store or write to the head office – Here are some talking points – and contacts for grocery stores.
- Over 7000 signatures were presented in May 2014 but you can still collect signatures: Click here to print up the petition.
- Order the info postcards for your local community events or for the local health food store.
- Write to your Member of the BC Legislature. Click here for information you can include in your letter or give this factsheet on the GM Apple to your MLA. You can use your postal code to search for your MLA’s contacts.
- If you are in BC you can also join local groups Bee SAFE, GE Free BC, Okanagan Greens Society, True Food Foundation, Elsewhere in Canada, contact CBAN.
BC Campaign Updates
BC grocery stores are beginning to sign the pledge not to sell the GM apple – already the list includes (May 12, 2014):
- Famous Foods
- Sprout Organic Market
- Nature’s Fare
- Edible Island Whole Foods Market
- Fruit World
- 49th Parallel Grocery
- Jim M Koo Produce
- Rock Creek General Store
- The Biggest Little Fruit Stand
- Ellisons Market Cafe
- Olives Community Market
- 108 Mile Supermarket
- Kootenay Co-op
- Choices Markets
- Greens Market
- Eternal Abundance
- East End Food Co-op
- Sweet Cherubim
In May 2014, over 7000 signatures on a petition to stop the GM apple were presented in the BC Legislature, by Nicholas Simons, BC NDP Agriculture Critic. The signatures were collected in 20 communities. The Society for a GE Free BC is pressing the government to carry out its promised review of the GM apple. Press Release – May 26, 2014: BC government refuses to carry out its promised review of the genetically engineered apple.
On March 12, 2013, Lana Popham, BC MLA for Saanich South and NDP Agriculture critic presented the petition against the GM apple in the Legislature. Local groups collected 5536 signatures from over 19 communities including Campbell River, Comox, Courtney, Delta, Kelowna, Lake Country, Langley, Penticton, Powell River, Port Coquitlam, Rosedale, Salt Spring Island, N. Saanich, Saanich, Surrey, Vancouver, North Vancouver, Vernon, and Victoria! (Hardcopy original petitions can be presented by politicians!) “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,” said Lana Popham.
- Press Release, August 14, 2012: GM Apple Jeopardizes Okanagan’s Reputation, say local groups
- Letter from Okanagan groups to Okanagan Specialty Fruits
BC Government Action
In 2013, the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) passed a resolution asking the BC government to prohibit all GM crops and animals.
The UBCM also passed a resolution in 2012 asking the BC government to legislate the prohibition of importing, exporting, and the domestic production of GM fruit. The province responded by saying it would review the issue. Click here to read the 2012 resolution and the Province’s response.
“The Province recognizes that production of Genetically Engineered (GE) fruit trees and their products, including tree fruit and pollen, raises human and environmental health concerns in export markets. These concerns can negatively impact access to those export and some domestic markets for both conventional and organic products.
If the Federal Government were to allow unconfined production of GE trees and other fruits in Canada, the fruit production and sales could be significantly impacted. The Province will explore the complex GE fruit issue and the UBCM resolution to request legislation to prohibit the BC production, importation and export of GE fruit trees and their products. Upon completion of this review, the Province will provide UBCM with its findings.”
What do BC growers say about the GM apple?
The BC Fruit Growers’ Association has asked for a moratorium on review of the apple.
In 2001, BC apple growers stopped the GM apple from being field tested in Canada. The federal government agricultural station in Summerland in the Okanagan valley, an important fruit growing area, was preparing to start field trials but BC growers who were concerned about contamination stopped these field trials from happening. As a consequence, the company has tested all their apple trees in the U.S.
In September 2011, CBAN and organizations from across BC organized a series of public events to discuss genetic engineering. At an event in Keremeos, Lee McFadyen of Mariposa Organic Farm and the Live Earth Organic Growers Association pointed out that there are already several varieties of apple that are slow to brown, such as Ambrosia. On the GM apple, orchardist Andrea Turner of the Similkameen Okanagan Organic Producers Association said, “The tree fruit industry cannot afford anything silly like that”. Read the concerns of the Similkameen Okanagan Organic Treefruit Growers Association, BC.