Tag Archives for " genetically modified "

First GMO Apple Slices To Go On Sale In Midwest

The first genetically modified apples to be sold in the U.S. will debut in select Midwestern stores next month. A small amount of Arctic brand sliced and packaged Golden Delicious, produced by Okanagan Specialty Fruits of Summerland, B.C., will be in 10 stores this fall, said Neal Carter, the company’s founder and president. He would not identify the retailers, saying that’s up to them.“We’re very optimistic with respect to this product because people love it at trade shows,” Carter said. “It’s a great product and the eating quality is excellent.”

Carter reduced the enzyme polyphenol oxidase to prevent browning when apples are sliced, bitten or bruised. The apples match the industry norm of not browning for three weeks after slicing but without using flavor-altering, chemical additives that the rest of the fresh-sliced apple industry uses.Golden Delicious, Granny Smith and Fuji varieties have been approved by the USDA and Canada. An Arctic Gala could be approved in 2018. Only Goldens and Granny Smiths have been planted long enough to produce fruit in commercial quantities by next fall.

Midwestern retailers were chosen for the first sales this winter because they seemed like a good fit demographically and in presence and size, Carter said. Asked if Midwest consumers may be more accepting of genetically modified apples than those on the East or West coasts, Carter said consumer research didn’t indicate that and that it wasn’t a consideration.

“We don’t want to skew our test marketing results by choosing stores that may be more friendly to genetic engineering,” he said.About 500, 40-pound boxes of sliced apples will be sold in grab-and-go pouch bags, he said. The company expects to offer 6,000 boxes of apple slices from the 2017 fall crop.

A QR computer scan code on the packaging enables consumers to get information, including that the apple slices are genetically modified, but nothing directly on the packing identifies it. Okanagan Specialty Fruits will adhere to the new genetically engineered foods labeling act but it’s not clear what that requires, Carter said.“We are selling it under the Arctic brand and we’ve had a lot of press and attention, so I assume most people will know what it is,” he said.

The company has reworked its logo, making a snowflake inside an apple outline more visible.The first commercial test marketing will provide the company with consumer preferences on packaging and price and other information including purchase motivations. Survey data will be used to help the company decide its fall 2017 commercial launch strategy.

The company has orchards in British Columbia and 85,000 trees at an undisclosed location in Washington state. More than 300,000 trees will be planted this spring and 500,000 are being budded for planting in 2018. Those numbers may increase, as the company wants enough volume to compete nationally in the sliced apple business, Carter said.

The goal is 800 to 1,000 acres planted in the Northwest and nearly the same acreage in the eastern U.S. in addition to 600 to 800 acres in Canada by 2021, he has said. It will be a mix of company orchards and contract growers.

While supportive of the science, the Washington apple industry opposed approval of GMO apples because it believes negative public perception could damage apple sales. While expressing concerns about market disruption before USDA approval, the U.S. Apple Association is now neutral and stresses that all apples are safe, healthy and nutritious.

 

SOURCE…www.capitalpress.com

Consumers Opposed To Genetically Modified Foods, But Don’t Know What They Are

 

 

A new report finds Canadians are critical yet overwhelmingly confused about food that has been genetically engineered, but they want mandatory labels to help inform their grocery choices.A research report commissioned by Health Canada finds consumers have “strong feelings” about being able to identify genetically modified products when they’re shopping, and 78 per cent are calling for clear labelling on packages.

“There was a prevailing belief among participants that there should be greater transparency to consumers and, once raised, many questioned why government in particular should be resistant to providing consumers with more information that would help them make more informed decisions,” read the findings from The Strategic Counsel.

Given the choice, 62 per cent would buy a non-GM food over a GM product out of fears of health hazards or impacts on the environment.

Consumers don’t understand science

But the research, which was conducted through focus groups and online surveys to gauge public perceptions, also reveals that consumers have little understanding about the science of what many dubbed “Frankenfood.” Often, it’s confused with goods that have had additives like preservatives or hormone injections.

“Lack of awareness and understanding affects their confidence in the food supply and raises their level of concern,” the report says.Some of the words commonly used by participants included “fake,” “mutations,” “man-made” or “mass produced.”According to Health Canada’s website, all GM foods are “rigorously assessed” for safety prior to being allowed on the market. But labelling is now voluntary.

NDP MP Pierre-Luc Dusseault says Canadians have every right to know what they’re eating, and he has tabled a private member’s bill to require mandatory labels.”The more information we give to consumers, the better,” he said.

He pointed to a new GM labelling law in Vermont that requires processed foods sold in the state that contain genetically engineered ingredients to say so on the label. Similar laws exist in countries across Europe.But negative views revealed in the research highlight a “difficult challenge” for Health Canada ahead.Anti-GM advocates have successfully filled the “information void,” the report reads.”Consumers’ initial response and reaction to the topic of GM foods is certainly not positive and clearly presents some formidable challenges for Health Canada communicators and policy-makers with respect to addressing the level of confusion, misinformation and generally low awareness/understanding that currently exists.”

Pushback’ expected

According to Health Canada’s website, a GM food is one derived from an organism that has been changed through:

  • Traditional crossbreeding techniques.
  • Using chemicals or radiation to alter genetic makeup.
  • Introducing a gene from one species into another species.

A company typically takes seven to 10 years to research and obtain approval for sale, and only 120 genetically modified foods have been approved by Health Canada to date, ranging from insect-resistant corn to genetically modified yeast that cuts certain compounds in wine.

In May, Health Canada provoked controversy when it approved the first genetically modified food animal  for sale after “rigorous” scientific reviews.

While a high number of participants opposed GM food in any form, the report said regulatory, safety and approvals processes could give greater comfort to those “sitting on the fence.”

“However, the extent of likely pushback cannot be underestimated. From the survey, only 26 per cent of respondents indicated they would be comfortable eating foods that have been genetically modified, and just 22 per cent support the development and sale of GM foods in Canada. It is clear that significant efforts to inform and educate Canadians would be required in order to shift views in a more positive direction.”

 

Other findings:

  • The argument that genetic modification helps produce more affordable, sustainable food draws some empathy for developing nations where population growth and supply of arable land are challenges, but hold “little sway” in Canada, one of the world’s leading agricultural producers.
  • Consumers aren’t convinced that GM foods are as safe, tasty or nutritious.
  • Most see the market for GM foods as one created as a means to increase corporate profits, not to address demand or evolving preferences.
  • Consumers are just as concerned about GM as they are about herbicides and pesticides and growth hormones.

The research, carried out by The Strategic Counsel for a cost of $119,000, was completed in late June and recently publicly posted online.

It was based on focus groups in five centres and an online survey of 2,018 respondents. Data is based on an online survey of 2,018 Canadians, aged 19 years and older between March 24 and March 29, 2016. A margin of error is not available due to the sampling method for the survey.

Consumers opposed to genetically modified foods, but don’t know what they are
http://news360.com/article/372958975

Shared via News360

Consumers Opposed To Genetically Modified Foods, But Don't Know What They Are

 

 

A new report finds Canadians are critical yet overwhelmingly confused about food that has been genetically engineered, but they want mandatory labels to help inform their grocery choices.A research report commissioned by Health Canada finds consumers have “strong feelings” about being able to identify genetically modified products when they’re shopping, and 78 per cent are calling for clear labelling on packages.

“There was a prevailing belief among participants that there should be greater transparency to consumers and, once raised, many questioned why government in particular should be resistant to providing consumers with more information that would help them make more informed decisions,” read the findings from The Strategic Counsel.

Given the choice, 62 per cent would buy a non-GM food over a GM product out of fears of health hazards or impacts on the environment.

Consumers don’t understand science

But the research, which was conducted through focus groups and online surveys to gauge public perceptions, also reveals that consumers have little understanding about the science of what many dubbed “Frankenfood.” Often, it’s confused with goods that have had additives like preservatives or hormone injections.

“Lack of awareness and understanding affects their confidence in the food supply and raises their level of concern,” the report says.Some of the words commonly used by participants included “fake,” “mutations,” “man-made” or “mass produced.”According to Health Canada’s website, all GM foods are “rigorously assessed” for safety prior to being allowed on the market. But labelling is now voluntary.

NDP MP Pierre-Luc Dusseault says Canadians have every right to know what they’re eating, and he has tabled a private member’s bill to require mandatory labels.”The more information we give to consumers, the better,” he said.

He pointed to a new GM labelling law in Vermont that requires processed foods sold in the state that contain genetically engineered ingredients to say so on the label. Similar laws exist in countries across Europe.But negative views revealed in the research highlight a “difficult challenge” for Health Canada ahead.Anti-GM advocates have successfully filled the “information void,” the report reads.”Consumers’ initial response and reaction to the topic of GM foods is certainly not positive and clearly presents some formidable challenges for Health Canada communicators and policy-makers with respect to addressing the level of confusion, misinformation and generally low awareness/understanding that currently exists.”

Pushback’ expected

According to Health Canada’s website, a GM food is one derived from an organism that has been changed through:

  • Traditional crossbreeding techniques.
  • Using chemicals or radiation to alter genetic makeup.
  • Introducing a gene from one species into another species.

A company typically takes seven to 10 years to research and obtain approval for sale, and only 120 genetically modified foods have been approved by Health Canada to date, ranging from insect-resistant corn to genetically modified yeast that cuts certain compounds in wine.

In May, Health Canada provoked controversy when it approved the first genetically modified food animal  for sale after “rigorous” scientific reviews.

While a high number of participants opposed GM food in any form, the report said regulatory, safety and approvals processes could give greater comfort to those “sitting on the fence.”

“However, the extent of likely pushback cannot be underestimated. From the survey, only 26 per cent of respondents indicated they would be comfortable eating foods that have been genetically modified, and just 22 per cent support the development and sale of GM foods in Canada. It is clear that significant efforts to inform and educate Canadians would be required in order to shift views in a more positive direction.”

 

Other findings:

  • The argument that genetic modification helps produce more affordable, sustainable food draws some empathy for developing nations where population growth and supply of arable land are challenges, but hold “little sway” in Canada, one of the world’s leading agricultural producers.
  • Consumers aren’t convinced that GM foods are as safe, tasty or nutritious.
  • Most see the market for GM foods as one created as a means to increase corporate profits, not to address demand or evolving preferences.
  • Consumers are just as concerned about GM as they are about herbicides and pesticides and growth hormones.

The research, carried out by The Strategic Counsel for a cost of $119,000, was completed in late June and recently publicly posted online.

It was based on focus groups in five centres and an online survey of 2,018 respondents. Data is based on an online survey of 2,018 Canadians, aged 19 years and older between March 24 and March 29, 2016. A margin of error is not available due to the sampling method for the survey.

Consumers opposed to genetically modified foods, but don’t know what they are
http://news360.com/article/372958975

Shared via News360