GMO Communication (Part 2): A ripe educational opportunity

Last week I shared some of the personal experiences that have shaped my understanding of GMO perceptions. This week, I will be talking about the importance of biotech champions, and some of the most important lessons we’ve learned for effectively sharing information on GMOs in a way that resonates with a wide, diverse audience. Bridging the communications gap In January 2015 Pew Research found that 88% of scientists from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) say GE foods are generally safe, but 57% of U.S. adults aren’t so sure. Months earlier, the International Food Information Council (IFIC)
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GMO communication (Part 1): The juice is worth the squeeze

Over fifteen years before the first nonbrowning Arctic® apple variety was even approved in the U.S. and Canada, my family and I received a rude awakening regarding how big a challenge we had gotten ourselves into. Activists angry about the development of GMO apples had hacked over 650 of our young apple trees down. These particular trees weren’t even genetically engineered, but the activists either didn’t realize or simply didn’t care! Being involved in agriculture for over three decades, I’ve learned to expect the unexpected from the weather, pests and even people. And, while I’m happy to say the attack
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Arctic® apples approved in Canada!

It is with great excitement that Okanagan Specialty Fruits announces that Arctic® apples are officially approved in Canada! This follows U.S. approval of our first two nonbrowning varieties, Arctic® Golden and Arctic® Granny, earlier this year on Feb. 13th by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. So, nearly two decades after we founded OSF, Arctic® apples can now be grown throughout both Canada and the U.S.! Arctic® apples’ approval was made official earlier today when the two bodies reviewing our apples, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Health Canada notified OSF that their reviews are complete (read more about the
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U.S. to deregulate Arctic® apples!

Okanagan Specialty Fruits is thrilled to share big news – the first nonbrowning Arctic® apple varieties are about to be deregulated in the United States! This milestone is nearly two decades in the making, as Arctic® Golden and Arctic® Granny apples represent OSF’s first products since our inception in 1996. We could not have achieved this without our small-but-mighty, grower-led team and all our supporters in the agriculture and biotech industries. And, of course, all the consumers who told us they can’t wait for nonbrowning apples! Earlier today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Services (APHIS)
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Neal Carter: Perception of biotech foods boosted by consumer benefits

There’s no question that farmers are well aware of the benefits biotech crops can offer, as ag-biotech is the fastest adopted crop technology in history with 18 million farmers currently growing biotech crops worldwide. Consumers, on the other hand, have not yet seen many direct benefits for themselves, nor have they been the focus of educational efforts until recently. OSF president Neal Carter explains, in an opinion piece published by Fresh Fruit Portal, that the rise of educational efforts, and the “next wave” of biotech crops with direct benefits for consumers will help foster a positive shift in consumer perceptions
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USDA APHIS open 2nd comment period for Arctic® apples

The U.S. government has opened the second, and final, comment period on nonbrowning Arctic® apples, meaning we’re closer than ever to achieving commercialization! The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Services (USDA APHIS) has posted their Environmental Assessment (EA) and Plant Pest Risk Assessment (PPRA) for our Arctic® Granny and Arctic® Golden varieties, and are requesting public input. This is the second U.S. comment period and comments will be accepted for 30 days, until December 9, 2013. The first comment period opened July 13, 2012 when APHIS posted for public review our 163 page petition requesting deregulation. We
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Working with the apple industry towards a shared goal

We’ve been growing apples in the beautiful Okanagan Valley for 18 years and have loved every minute of it. More often than not, we’re up before the sun in order to look after our fruit, and if you read Louisa’s post from last fall you know that we truly embrace the orchardist lifestyle. We didn’t found Okanagan Specialty Fruits because we don’t like apples the way they are, or to make a quick, easy buck (believe me when I say that nothing is quick or easy about bringing Arctic® apples to market!). We did it because we’ve seen declining apple
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Looking back – an eventful 2012 for OSF

As a result of a busy 2012, Okanagan Specialty Fruits has never been closer to bringing nonbrowning Arctic® apples to market! The regulatory processes for biotech foods in both the United States and Canada are extremely rigorous and it typically takes several years (at least!) to gain approvals. This past year OSF hit major milestones in the deregulation process in both countries. 2012 was especially rewarding after all the hard work our team has delivered since the company’s founding in 1996. In Canada, things really started to kick off on May 2nd when the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) posted
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OSF’s Neal Carter presents TEDx talk

Recently, I was given the fantastic opportunity of delivering a presentation on agricultural biotechnology and its benefits at a TEDx event in Penticton, BC. I firmly believe in the value biotechnology can offer the agriculture industry and the global community, so I was excited to be asked to share these views through an amazing outlet like TEDx. I am convinced of the benefits biotechnology provides our global population, including saving lives. I have a unique perspective from working around the world as a bioresource engineer for nearly three decades, in addition to my experience as an orchardist and as the
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USDA comment period on Arctic® apples comes to a close

Arctic® Grannies and Arctic® Goldens are both one step closer to market with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) concluding their 60-day comment period yesterday (September 11, 2012). Okanagan Specialty Fruit’s petition applying for the deregulation of our nonbrowning apples was released for public review and input on July 13 and the past two months have been a very exciting time for our small company! There has been a tremendous amount of attention from the media and even more from consumers, who submitted around three times the number of comments on the Arctic® apple petition as the nine other biotech crops undergoing
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