B.C. grower develops GMO apple that won't turn brown
An Okanagan orchardist is trying to get the OK for a genetically modified apple that won't turn brown, but his colleagues in the fruit business aren't happy about it.
Neal Carter of Okanagan Specialty Fruits is waiting for approval of the new apple from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, but he thinks it's a winner already.
"All we've done is turn off one gene in the apple itself -- an enzyme that drives the browning reaction," he told CTV News.
"It's the great product you've always wanted without the baggage of going brown."
But the BC Fruit Growers' Association is concerned about the negative impact on marketing, according to past-president Joe Sardinha.
"Why would we go and embrace something that carries the negative connotations of genetic modification?" he said.
Organic growers like Peter Simonson are mortified by the prospect of the new apple, fearing the bees that help pollinate orchards would drag genetically modified material into organic blocks.
"It would be the kiss of death for the organic industry, if nearby orchards would plant this apple," Simonson said.
"I would lose my organic status. I couldn't be organic anymore."
Carter disagrees, and says the modified pollen wouldn't spread.
The debate over the new apple has spilled onto the floor of the legislature, where NDP agriculture critic Lana Popham dared the province to oppose the fruit.
"Will the agriculture minister and the BC Liberals stand with the opposition and the BC Fruit Growers' Association and say no to genetically modified fruit in the Okanagan and British Columbia?" she asked.
Ultimately, though, federal authorities have jurisdiction.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Kent Molgat