August 13, 2012
To: Neal Carter, President, Okanagan Specialty Fruits
RE: Request to Stop the GM Apple, Stop Damage to the Okanagan’s Reputation
Dear Mr. Carter,
We are writing, on behalf of the Okanagan residents that we work with, to ask you to immediately withdraw your applications for approval of the genetically engineered (also called genetically modified or GM) apple in Canada and the U.S., and to stop all attempts to introduce this GM apple.
Your company’s efforts to commercialize the GM apple are damaging the reputation of the Okanagan Valley. The name of your company – “Okanagan Specialty Fruits” – borrows our positive reputation to promote a genetic technology that is dominated by negative connotations and that many apple growers and eaters in the Okanagan have already rejected.
Consumers do not want this GM apple. As you know, a recent consumer survey commissioned by the BC Fruit Growers Association and the Quebec Apple Producers Organization found that 69% of Canadians do not want this GM apple. Our fruit industry needs good press, not the negative association with this GM apple.
Contamination from the GM apple jeopardizes organic certification for organic orchardists in BC. The risk of GM contamination and the release of the GM apple itself will undermine consumer confidence in BC apples and damage our markets. In fact, based on conversations with people in this area, we are concerned that, due to recent media attention about your proposed product, many consumers think GM apples are already on the market and are, therefore, confused about their apple purchases.
We support our local apple producers and the consumers who reject this GM apple.
The GM apple risks the future of organic orchardists in BC, the markets for all BC apples, and the Okanagan’s reputation as a pristine fruit growing area. We therefore ask you to immediately stop pursuing this GM apple.
Wendy Wright, Okanagan Greens Society; Heidi Osterman, True Food Foundation; Huguette Allen, Bee SAFE; Fred Danenhower, Similkameen Okanagan Organic Treefruit Growers Association.
Contact: Wendy Wright, firstname.lastname@example.org 250 469 1881