The Tyranny of Perfection: Botox Apples

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How about a round of Happy Birthday to You for your apples?

That’s right, the ‘fresh’ apples you buy at the supermarket could actually be a year old.

The food industry already has plenty of techniques for extending the shelf life of apples.
They’re sprayed with wax or shellac to make them shiny and seal in moisture.
They’re flushed with nitrogen, carbon dioxide, 1-methylcyclopropene, and other inert gases, and stored for months in sealed, controlled atmosphere storage facilities.
They’re irradiated using high-energy electrons or X-rays from accelerators, or by gamma rays emitted from radioactive sources.

Now, a genetically-modified apple that never browns is seeking FDA approval for sale in the U.S.

Called the Arctic apple by its inventor, it aims to be the first food that is genetically modified solely for cosmetic reasons, which has earned it the nickname the botox apple. Most genetically modified crops are designed to be pest- or disease-resistant. In this case, a crop has been sliced and diced at the molecular level to spare us the need to add a sprinkle of lemon juice to prevent slices from browning.

The Arctic apple amendment shuts down the enzyme responsible for the discoloration that occurs when apple flesh is exposed to air or when it’s damaged; that’s right— no bruising to alert you to decomposition. The manufacturer plans to add it to Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Gala, and Fuji apples, to start, with more altered varieties to come. And of course current laws don’t require any special labeling for genetically modified foods.

How do you like them apples?

Learn about advancements in tree fruit genomics, gene discovery, germplasm selection, and molecular biology from Okanagan Specialty Fruits, the Canadian agricultural biotechnology company that developed the Arctic apple.

Download the 2011 True Food Shopper’s Guide to Avoiding GMOs from the Center for Food Safety.

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5 Responses to The Tyranny of Perfection: Botox Apples

  1. That’s just gross. I guess it’s time to stop buying apples in winter and just depend on the ones I get from orchards and farmers’ markets in the summer. Thanks for the info, scary though it is.

  2. That is so creepy! I always just assume the Frankenfoods are the tinned & boxed & super-processed products. But apples? Yet another reason to shop local and in season!

  3. More food news read with a heavy heart. Well, perhaps someone ought to skip the apples if they don’t look good and purchase whatever fruit happens to be in season.

  4. This is me applauding!Well done on this post.

    This Fall, while in Michigan, I had the pleasure of eating organic apples (Honey Crisp variety) right from the tree…we really do not realize what the food production industry has done to our taste buds over the last 50 years. So much of our produce is actually “tasteless” due to the methods used to get “ripe” food to the store…..(and yes, some bad dreams just don’t go away 🙂

  5. Monet says:

    Isn’t this so sad! I still remember the first time I picked an apple off the tree…when I took that first bite, I floated up to apple heaven. Such a difference! Thank you so much for sharing. I hope the rest of your week is full of joy!

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