To Modify or Not to Modify: Do We Need GMO Fruit & Veggies in Vancouver?

BC Ambrosia Apples

( It’s been an interesting couple of weeks when it comes to issues about genetically modified crops in BC. First, news broke about 10 days ago that Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc., a company based in Summerland, BC, has applied to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to be able to grow Arctic Apples, a new type of apple that is genetically modified so it won’t turn brown.

Then, last week, hundreds of people turned up at a Richmond city council meeting when word got out that a representative of CropLife Canada would be speaking. CropLife represents “plant biotechnology” companies... in other words, producers of genetically modified crops. CropLife’s representative did speak, but Richmond council, as expected, ratified its motion banning genetically modified shrubs, plants, and food crops from being grown in the city.

So, Do We Need Non-Browning, GMO Apples?

So, what are we to make of all this? Do we really need an apple that won’t brown? How often do you buy pre-cut apple slices? How often are you not able to finish an apple so that you need to store leftovers for later use? And what about the old trick of tossing apple slices with lemon juice to prevent browning?

It’s an interesting question. Producers of genetically modified crops suggest that they are both easier to grow and increase yields, meaning that more people can be fed using less land. Opponents say it’s not known how eating genetically modified crops impacts human health, and worry that cross-pollination could lead to organic farms losing their certification if GMO crops are grown nearby.

Indeed, Richmond is not the only BC city to ban GMO plants. Rossland, Kaslo, Nelson, Powell River and Saltspring Island have all done so as well.

Enjoy Local BC Apples!

Meanwhile, if you’re looking to get your hands on an old-fashioned local, non-GMO, apple, here are the top five apples produced in BC, according to BC Tree Fruits:

  • Gala
  • Ambrosia
  • Spartan
  • McIntosh
  • Red Delicious

Tell us: Will you buy non-browning Arctic Apples? Do you think Richmond’s got the right idea by banning GMO crops? Leave your thoughts about the local GMO situation in the comments!

Acknowledgement: Thanks Kristine Laing and our editor Christina Newberry for bringing forward these news tips!

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