Genetically Modified Apples Now Approved in the US

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Our Monday green news brings you the latest on nutrition, good causes and child education:

apples, GMO, genetically modifed apples

Photo courtesy of msr via Flickr

  • Genetically modified apples now approved in the US: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has recently approved commercial planting of genetically modified Arctic Apples developed by company Okanagan Specialty Fruits, despite almost 73,000 comments opposing this commercialization. Arctic Apples are specially engineered to prevent browning when sliced. This USDA’s decision is the first approval of an aesthetically-improved genetically engineered food that will be available in American food chains, which currently only offers a small number of GMO foods. While the developer believes the non-browning feature will be popular with both consumers and food distributors and could also reduce the number of apples discarded because of bruising, many executives in the apple industry are concerned that it could hurt exports of apples to countries that do not like genetically modified foods. The so-called Arctic apples  will be available in the Granny Smith and Golden Delicious varieties. Consumer and environmental groups were highly critical of the decision, stating that genetically modified crops in general are not thoroughly tested for safety. Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch, said in a statement: “This G.M.O. apple is simply unnecessary. Apple browning is a small cosmetic issue that consumers and the industry have dealt with successfully for generations.” Simple homemade remedy such as sprikling lemon juice or another source of vitamin C on apple slices can delay the browning. The environmental groups have been pressing food companies to reject the Arctic apples. Companies such as McDonald’s and Gerber have already responded claiming they had no plans to use these apples. The groups have also renewed their demand for proper labeling of genetically modified foods.
  • No more artificial colors and flavors in US Nestle products: Company Nestlé US has recently announced that it will remove all artificial flavorings and colorings from its candy products by the end of 2015. More than 250 products and 10 brands will no longer contain ingredients such as Red 40 and Yellow 5. Instead, these will be replaced with natural’ alternatives such as annatto and real vanilla flavor. The new products will be labeled with “No artificial flavors or colors” on its packaging. This change has been already done on the same products sold in EU years ago.
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