Consumer Guide: How to Avoid Eating the GM Apple
The first-ever genetically engineered (genetically modified or GM) apple is now being sold in Canada, as pre-sliced apples.
Alert: Watch for pre-sliced apples in prepared foods.
The GM apple is only being sold as pre-sliced apples, not as whole apples.
This means that the GM apples could be used by any company that buys bags of pre-sliced apples to use in products. Is your grocery store or restaurant cutting apples or buying bags of pre-sliced apples instead?
- Do not buy fruit trays or other prepared foods with sliced apples. Ask if the apples were cut in-house or if they are from a bag of pre-sliced apples.
- Avoid sliced apples at restaurants, or foods that could have been made with pre-sliced apples, such as apple pies.
- Only buy whole apples, or apple products that are certified organic or Non-GMO Project Verified.
A small amount of pre-sliced GM apples have already been sold in Canada, and more could be sold after apple harvest this year, through an unnamed food service outlet. This means that GM apple slices could be served in university cafeterias, hotels and catering businesses, hospital and prison meals, restaurants, or through ready-made salads and fruit-trays in grocery stores.
The GM apple company Okanagan Specialty Fruits says it is “focused strictly on pre-sliced apples.” The company processes all the GM apples into slices at their plant in Idaho, U.S. The company’s president said “I don’t know if we’ll ever see them loose on the produce shelf.”[i]
In the U.S., the GM apples are also sold in small snack-bags of apple slices or dried apple chips (fries), with the company’s “Arctic” logo.
- The GM apple was first sold in the US in 2017, and a small amount is now on the market in Canada.
- A few orchards of GM apple trees have been established in the US (Washington state) but there are none in Canada yet.
- In 2015, the company Okanagan Specialty Fruits got approval for its genetically modified non-browning Golden Delicious and Granny Smith apples in Canada and the U.S., followed by an approval for its GM Fuji apples in 2018.
- The GM apples are trademarked “Arctic Apples.”
- The company says its GM apple slices will last almost a week longer than non-GM pre-sliced apples, and will have a shelf life of 28 days.
For more information see www.cban.ca/apple.
[i] Laura Robin, “From Tree to Table: The Arctic Apple is Ready to Blossom,” Ottawa Citizen, January 22, 2016.