Comment from Steve Savage
This is a Comment on the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Notice: Petitions for Determination of Nonregulated Status; Availability: Okanagan Specialty Fruits, Inc., Apples Genetically Engineered to Resist Browning
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To whom it may concern,
I believe that the Arctic apples should definitely be approved. Many who have commented do not seem to realize that these apples will be explicitly labeled as biotech apples and their non-browning character will be advertised as such. Unlike grains, identity preservation is the norm in the apple industry and consumers pick specific varieties that suit their taste. This will be no different. If someone does not want to eat them, they can simply buy other apples.
Some may raise the issue of "genetic contamination." In the rare event that a bee moves from an Arctic apple block to another, the only thing in the resulting apples will be embryos in seeds. Without a very sensitive test one would never even be able to find them. Since apples are not grown from seed and since seeds are slightly toxic and should not be eaten, this is a non-event. The precedent for Organic is that any unintentional synthetic pesticide residue is not grounds for losing certification. I don't see why that would not be the rule here as well.
The gene silencing method used with these apples is a mechanism which is common for natural gene regulation. Far more genes are "off" than on in any eukaryotic cells.
I believe that consumers who know that biotech crops are perfectly safe should have the opportunity to try these apples. The US has not imitated the Europeans. We do not let politics and scaremongering trump science. There have been dozens of independent, long-term feeding studies that have demonstrated the safety of biotech crops.
I believe that it is unfortunate that some in the apple industry have swiftly taken the stance that they don't want the trouble of having this option. I understand their concerns, but I don't believe that it is ever a good idea to give in to anti-science voices.
I am confident that the USDA will continue its adherence to sound science when making this decision.
No documents available.
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Comment Period Closed
Sep 11 2012, at 11:59 PM ET
Tracking Number: 8109c1f7
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Date Posted: Jul 16, 2012
Submitter Name: Steve Savage
Country: United States
State or Province: CA
Organization Name: Savage&Associates