There is a new GMO coming to market but this time it’s a consumer targeted product. Most genetically modified organisms in food production incorporate traits that favor producers like farmers. They resist herbicides or insects to make it easier and cheaper to churn out commodity crops to take over the world food’s supply. But of what value is there to actual consumers who don’t care about cost, environmental effects or nutrition?! Well enter Okanagan Specialty Fruits with a devious plan to sell frankenapples they call the “Arctic Apple” that don’t turn brown when you cut them! The implications for eating more apples than processed commodity food products is a particularly insidious rouse to get us all hooked on GMOs. I managed to sucker their Twitter minion 1 into doing an interview over Twitter (the kids call it a “TwitterView”, yo).
The hash tag on Twitter was #PCTV (PythagoreanCrankTwitterView). I’ve edited it for clarity and added citations for further information, please do check those out. So it went a little something like this, HIT IT!
— Arctic Apples (@ArcticApples) June 5, 2013
Ok, how many thousands of employees do you have?
ArcticApples: We have all of 0.007 thousand employees! (Or, if you prefer: 7)
Of those how many are ex-Hitler war scientists?
ArcticApples: More like how many AREN’T?!? Oh that’s right… all of them.
Why are you injecting DNA into apples?
ArcticApples: We actually don’t do that, guessing you saw some “photos” on anti-GMO websites? We also don’t dress like witches FYI…
Hundreds of photoshopped stock photos can’t be wrong!
ArcticApples: Of course not… ROAR!
I saw a video where your founder Neal Carter admitted to BLASTing the human genome. WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?! 2
ArcticApples: It’s for your own good!! Seriously, it is. BLASTing helps identify potential health concerns (there are none, of course)
Still sounds like that would smart a bit.
ArcticApples: More like IS smart… ya…
So what is the new trait for your new Arctic Apple?
ArcticApples: Jeez do your homework! We make Arctic apples nonbrowning by silencing the genes that produce polyphenol oxidase (PPO)
Well why do we need this trait? Why not make something more useful like crops that resist herbicides or insects?
ArcticApples: Pest-resistant traits are in the works, but nonbrowning can reduce food waste while offering consumers direct benefits
Your blog admits that a certain number of apples consumed can have unknown effects due to pesticides. Sup with that? 3
ArcticApples: That “certain number” is 500+ for the average adult (in a day). Ya…pretty sure eating that many would be impossible.
So, no apple eating contests then, EH? (that’s how you canadians say it?)
ArcticApples: You’re welcome to try, EH! #EH
@AdamMerberg: As saying goes, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but 500+ can have unknown effects due to pesticides”
How much did you have to pay Blogger Julee K (a.k.a. Sleuth4Health) to change her stance on GMO? 4
ArcticApples: All of our profits from Arctic apple sales! Oh wait, we’re still going through deregulation so we have no sales yet…
That’s a bum deal for @sleuth4health. #DANG
You talk of silencing genes, why do you stifle free speech? What are you afraid they’ll tell us about GMO? 5
ArcticApples: It’s more about what they tell the apple to do: to turn brown. We replace these jerk genes with ones that play nice!
Jerk genes…well why didn’t you explain like that in the first place?! Makes much more sense…to me anyway.
Ok, so if we eat those genes will they silence our own genes and keep us from bruising or sun tanning?
ArcticApples: Nah, they’re actually genes from other apples so they just do boring apple-y things like provide antioxidants & Vit.C
How safe are these apples to consume? They won’t explode will they? I SAW TEH IRON MAN 3 MOVIE AND THEY DO!1!
ArcticApples: They’re just as safe as any other apple – same nutrition, composition, etc. & no new proteins!
Well sure you would say that, you have a vested interest!
ArcticApples: Anyone can see the evidence of #ArcticApple safety for themselves right here in our petition: LINK
ArcticApples: …And for biotech foods in general, you can trust the independent experts. 6
Why do we need fresh cut apples? 7
ArcticApples: They’re a consumption trigger! Studies show kids eat almost twice as many apples when they’re pre-sliced.
ArcticApples: Most recently, this one from Cornell University published last month: LINK
Jack Smith said that mucking around with genes is like playing roulette. What do you say to that?
ArcticApples: It’s actually incredibly precise but who are we to argue with the expert opinion of a flying yogic instructor?
Uhhhh Jack Smith is just a guy I know and he isn’t a flying yogic instructor. Who are YOU talking about?
ArcticApples: Next question 😉
My friend…Molly um, Mapple works in the HR department at Monsanto. Can you please say hi to her if you see her?
ArcticApples: Well we have no ties with Monsanto and their HQ is >2,000 miles away but ya sure, why not? “Hi Molly!”
aHA! That was a trick question and you FAILE…um, wait ok you win this round…I think.
So why grow apple trees in the arctic, that’s alotta food miles if you ain’t Inuit! 8
ArcticApples: Actually, they’re called “Arctic” because of the crisp, white colour of their flesh (sorry aspiring Arctic orchardists!)
I’ve heard the regulatory process is quite long. How do you stay in business in the meantime? 9
ArcticApples: With the tremendous support of our stakeholders – over half of them growers and other apple industry members!
AND MONSATIN AMIRITE?!
ArcticApples: Is that some sort of combination of monster & satin? Like Monstars from Space Jam?
Yeah, something like that. Cartoon villains n all…
Why do you want to take over the apple food supply?
ArcticApples: What family-sized, grower led company of 7 people doesn’t strive for global domination of the food supply?
CAOUGHT YA!!1! You heard it here first, folks!
Neal Carter admits he’s an orchardist. Why work for a company that discriminates against orchards? 10
ArcticApples: I know; every year he steals all their fruit! Guess it’s a Robin Hood kinda thing… Orchards have lots of apples.
You better watch out for the OLF (Orchard Liberationist Front)
Won’t putting terminators into apple trees wipe out all apples on earth? 11
ArcticApples: Our terminators are decidedly un-sinister. They’re just one of the biotech tools that help us with precisions (1/2)…
ArcticApples: …Essentially the terminator just helps us identify whether or not the nonbrowning trait is successfully added. (2/2)
Sigh, that’s way more boring.
ArcticApples: Indeed, perhaps that’s why we see so many people make up more “interesting” explanations of their own…
If you refuse to label can you engineer apples to have a yuck face so consumers can make an informed decision?
ArcticApples: Hmm good idea – guess we’ll scrap the skulls & crossbones! Seriously, though, they don’t even have any novel proteins.
Good cuz I hate having to read my food. “Novel”, get it?! Har har. :/
So how will I find Arctic apples in stores if you refuse to LABEL MY RIGHT TO KNOW???
ArcticApples: Well, every apple will have an “Arctic” sticker on it, so you will know EXACTLY what it is rather than generic “GMO”
When will this product be unleashed upon the unsuspecting masses?
ArcticApples: Hopefully approval in Canada & US later this year, so we’ll be able to FORCE small quantities of fruit on you in 2014/15!
haha please do, looking forward to it! 😀
Will there be camp outs in front of stores when you launch the new product like when Apple Computers does it?
ArcticApples: Psssh, we’ve already done one better – we draw crowds long before they even come out! 12
Ok I have a couple of Billion dollar ideas for you, free of charge!
ArcticApples: Let’s hear em!
Two words: nonbrowning avocados!
ArcticApples: Not a bad idea! We’ve already looked into other nonbrowning fruits (cherries & pears) – maybe that’s next!
Two more words, can’t help myself: Cheese Apple! (nod to @SkepticalVegan) 13
ArcticApples: That’s right behind Peanut Butter Apples on our to-do list, but we’ve already thought of a nickname: “The Chapple”!
“Chapple” is a great name, you win the interview!
I’ll post this to my blog soon as a recap, thanks again!
ArcticApples: Sounds great! Thanks for taking the time to do the interview – that was fun! Looking forward to the post
ArcticApples: Thanks to everyone that followed along with the interview – feel free to ask us any Q’s of your own any time!
So there you have it folks straight from BigA…er I mean SmallAg’s mouth. Okanagan Specialty Fruits I think is a model of transparency for the future and it will be interesting to see the consumer’s reaction in the market. This particular consumer can’t wait to get one and watch the magic.
Check out their blog and please do take them up on the invitation to ask them any questions you have. They’ve written a blog post to answer one of mine in the past so they keep their social media presence pretty open and current.
Thanks to all the Twitter supporters who promoted this interview and those of you who chimed in during.
- Joel Brooks – Marketing Communications Specialist ↩
- A chat with Neal Carter at BIO 2013 | Youtube: Biology Fortified, Inc. ↩
- A rational discussion of apples and pesticides | Arctic Apples ↩
- Sleuth4Health: A second look at the Arctic® apple ↩
- Demystifying Arctic Apples | Arctic Apples ↩
- Who to trust on biotech foods? | Arctic Apples ↩
- Snack away and keep the pounds at bay! | Arctic Apples ↩
- Mandatory labeling is misleading | Arctic Apples ↩
- Navigating the rigorous regulatory system | Arctic Apples ↩
- OSF’s Neal Carter presents TEDx talk | Arctic Apples ↩
- How we introduce the nonbrowning trait in Arctic® apples | Arctic Apples ↩
- Apple Activists vs Scientists | Biology Fortified, Inc ↩
- Vegan GMO Redux | Pythagorean Crank ↩