Grocers shoot down GM apples

Vernon-based Nature’s Fare has agreed not to sell genetically modified apples. - Photo submitted
Vernon-based Nature’s Fare has agreed not to sell genetically modified apples.
— image credit: Photo submitted

A large number of B.C. retailers of fresh produce have committed not to sell genetically modified apples if approved for sale in Canada.

This commitment from 20 retailers, including Vernon-based Nature’s Fare, comes as a result of a letter the Health Action Network Society (HANS) mailed to B.C. grocery stores and fresh-produce retailers.

“Nature’s Fare has made a commitment to our staff and customers to carry only certified organic produce, which means that none of our produce can be genetically modified,” said Alexa Monahan, with Nature’s Fare.

“Further to that, our customers have made it clear that they are vehemently opposed to the Arctic apple, and that they would not purchase it in our store or from other retailers.

The HANS letter was mailed to most produce retailers in B.C. and it requested the stores make a commitment in writing not to purchase or sell the Arctic apple, which is genetically modified not to brown as quickly as the current crop of commercially available apples.

“Our membership and thousands of other Canadians are very concerned about the possibility of GM apples being sold in their local stores,” said Michael Volker, HANS director of operations.

“Even back in 2012, 69 per cent of polled Canadians didn’t want the GM apple. This is why we took the initiative to contact retailers and ask them to honour the wishes of consumers.”

The B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association, which is made up of both organic and conventional growers, officially opposes the genetically modified apple.

The BCFGA has previously stated that contamination from GM apples could threaten the future of organic apples and the export market for B.C. apples around the world.

“We believe this will cause confusion for customers, because it is extremely unlikely a label will alert consumers to the fact that the apple is genetically modified,” said Volker.

“We are committed to continuing to contact retailers and grocers of fresh produce with the hope and expectation that this list will grow to reflect British Columbians’ demands for non-GMO apples in the marketplace.”


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