Add Potatoes to the List of GM Foods on the Market; Apples Coming in 2016

by Melissa Diane Smith

Updated 2015 GM Food ListWhen I wrote Going Against GMOs in 2014, I felt it was important to convey the message that the integrity of more and more of our health-promoting whole foods was at risk. But I was hoping that the list of genetically modified crops on the market, which a growing number of people want to avoid, would remain at nine, as it has been the past four years.

Unfortunately, in March 2015, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration changed that when it “approved” six varieties of a GM potato and two varieties of a GM apple. (I say “approved” in quotes because the FDA doesn’t actually conduct any tests on foods itself but says it’s the company’s continuing responsibility to ensure that foods it markets are safe.)

The GM potato, known as the Innate potato, is engineered by the J.R. Simplot Company to reduce the formation of black spots from bruising. The apple, known as the Arctic Apple, is engineered by Okanagan Specialty Fruits, Inc., to resist browning when cut or bruised. Food safety experts have repeatedly warned that we don’t know enough about the RNA interference or gene silencing techniques used to produce these newfangled products to determine whether they are safe for people and the environment. Allowing these “foods” onto the market, therefore, once again makes us guinea pigs in a massive feeding experiment for which we did not give our consent.

potatoesThe GM potato is now commercialized: As evidenced in the package in the picture, one variety of the GM potato was already being sold in some supermarkets this summer (though it’s possible that not all of the GM potatoes will be able to be identified with this type of labeling).

Apple trees take a longer time to grow than potatoes, but the GM apples are on their way: They are estimated to start appearing on some grocery store shelves in small quantities in 2016.

To stay up to date with that new information, I have added potatoes to the current list of GM foods on the market and am letting you know that GM apples will probably be in some stores in 2016. I’ve also revised Tips #1 and #2 in my Eat GMO-Free Challenge.

GM potatoes & applesWhether genetically modified potatoes and apples have arrived in your area yet or not, seek out potatoes and apples that are labeled USDA Organic. As I explained in Going Against GMOs, both of these are listed on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list of the produce items that have the highest amounts of pesticide residues. To protect your health from the effects of both pesticides and GMOs, make it a rule of thumb to buy organic.

Copyright 2015 Melissa Diane Smith

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