Dr. Oz: Would You Buy Genetically Modified Apples (Non-Browning Apples)?
Dr. Oz Provides an Explanation Regarding Genetically Modified Apples. The question that Dr. Oz raises in this show is if people would buy an apple that they know it will not turn brown after they bite from it. More, would you buy the apple if you would know it was genetically modified? The government has approved what is called “the arctic apple”. Okanagan is the Canadian company that made the genetic modification of the fruit that is considered a symbol of health. After it is sliced, the arctic apple doesn’t become brown. It can maintain its color for days.
The food industry could benefit from the use of the arctic apple as an alternative to regular apples, which are costly to preserve. Even if there are a lot of disputes about the safety of GMO foods, the United States Government has approved the arctic apple. This means that sliced apples that look fresh will surely be seen very soon in schools, grocery stores, restaurants and salad bars. Another question arises: Is America ready for the genetically modified apple? We know for a fact that two of the biggest GMO foods are corn and soy beans. But, these two were modified for pest control. Apples are modified for consumer convenience.
Reasons for Which Arctic Apples Don’t Become Brown
Neal Carter, who is the president and founder of Okanagan Specialty Fruits is invited to talk about the genetically modified apple. He explains about the mechanism that transforms the apple so it doesn’t get brown. Neal says that an arctic apple is just like any other apple, with a tiny difference: the browning is turned off at the enzyme level. When a normal apple rots, there are different types of agents that make it rot: bacteria, fungi and enzymes. When an apples turns brown, it is really rotten.
Neal says that people have been against the genetic modification of fruits and vegetables since the beginning of the industry. The apple consumption has declined, as it can be really hard for some people to drive, text and eat apples at the same time. If the apples are already cut, things can be completely different. There is an opportunity now to increase apple consumption. Companies in the food industry are already excited about this new opportunity.
On the other hand, Dr. Oz says that large companies like McDonald’s have stated that they will not use genetically modified apples. He asks Neal about a possible fear that he may have regarding people who are anti-GMO. Neal responds with a smile that he is concerned and he has always been. But, the voice of those who are against GMO’s is still very small. According to consumer research performed by Okanagan, anyone who gets the chance to experience the arctic apple starts to love it.
Could the Arctic Apple Usage Increase the Use of Pesticides?
Dr. Oz is a bit concerned about the effects that the arctic apple may have on the human body and he proposes an experiment. He invites a GMO expert in the show named Michael Hansen (PhD). He is about to present the concerns that people may have regarding GMO foods. Michael says that there are two major concerns, from which the first is the technology that is used to turn the browning enzymes off. It is similar to the technology used for pest control.
While turning off the genes responsible for browning, other genes from the same sequence can also be deactivated without intention. Since this technology is also used for pest control, there are questions that need answers. The second problem is that the enzyme involved in browning is also involved in plant defense. This could make apples more susceptible to diseases, but it is not a proven fact yet. If there are more diseases for apples, the pesticide use for them could increase.
Neal is invited to present his version about all this. Neal says he is 100% confident in the arctic apple. He is an apple grower with ten years of experience and five years of gathered data. According to this information, the arctic apple is identical in every way with the regular apple.
Michael Hansen says that the GMO label is the fastest growing label in the food industry. Since the issue that is solved for apples is just cosmetic, people can choose to use lemon juice or rice to keep their regular apples white if they don’t want to try the genetically modified version. The consumer should be able to choose between really fresh apples and the ones that have been modified to stay white. Proper labeling is needed for this purpose.