A rational discussion of apples and pesticides

Pesticides are a bit of a dirty word in some circles, but do consumers actually have anything to fear from pesticide residues in their apples? The Environmental Working Group (EWG) puts apples right at the top of their 2013 “Dirty Dozen List” as the most “contaminated” fruit. For the average consumer this can be scary, as it sure seems like a good idea to lower your pesticide intake, right? The truth is you’ve got absolutely nothing to worry about! Consider this: the average adult could consume well over 500 apples a day, and those apples could have the highest pesticide
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Recapping OSF at BIO 2013

Last week, the Biotechnology Industry Organization had their annual BIO 2013 convention in Chicago. Our president Neal Carter was in attendance, but he did much more than just “attend”! Neal was one of six panelists at the April 23rd “media breakfast” where panelists were asked many great questions about public opinion, biotech labeling, industry transparency and much more. Plus, he got to meet a major VIP in biotech media/education – Frank N. Foode (pictured)! Later that day, Neal delivered a presentation titled “Challenges and Opportunities for Small Companies in AgBiotech: Collaborating and Competing with the Majors”. He discussed the unique
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Navigating the rigorous regulatory system

In both the U.S. and Canada, the regulatory process required to bring a biotech crop to market is extremely rigorous and challenging. As industry members involved in the process for the past several years, we’re amazed at how opponents to ag-biotech claim biotech enhanced crops aren’t thoroughly evaluated. Nothing could be further from the truth! Our timeline below demonstrates how long it’s taken just to get to the point where we could even apply for deregulation (never mind gain approval!): Assuming Arctic® apples complete both the U.S. and Canadian regulatory processes by early 2014; this means it will have taken 18
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Dr. Michael Neff: Renovating our food system

We are pleased to share a guest blog from Dr. Michael Neff, who is the Director of Washington State University’s Molecular Plant Sciences Graduate Program. Also an Associate Professor of Crop Biotechnology at WSU, his expertise and experience with agricultural biotechnology is matched only by his passion for education. Dr. Neff has recently applied to present a TEDx talk on agricultural biotechnology, much like OSF President Neal Carter did last October, and here he shares what his talk will be about and why it’s such an important subject: On June 1st Western Washington University will host TEDxWWU, which has a
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Okanagan Specialty Fruits Announced as Gold Leaf Award Winner

Summerland, B.C., Canada – In an April 5 release, BIOTECanada has announced that Okanagan Specialty Fruits® (OSF) has been named the winner of this year’s Gold Leaf Award in the category of Early Stage Agriculture. The Gold Leaf Awards are presented by Canada’s national biotechnology industry organization, BIOTECanada, to companies and individuals “that have made significant contributions to the development of Canada’s biotech industry.” The category of Early Stage Agriculture is for companies who have products in the pre-commercialized stage and are recognized for their potential market impact. According to BIOTECanada, the winner “will have distinguished themselves from their peers
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The Lowdown on Biotech Crops

It’s always great to see individuals take it upon themselves to develop well-rounded opinions of agricultural biotechnology. Former biotech opponent Fourat Janabi (@fouratj) has done just that by not only reaching out to scientists like Kevin Folta (@kevinfolta) in a Q&A we shared last month, but also by interviewing family farmer Brian Scott (@thefarmerslife). His third and final Q&A on the subject is with our own President, Neal Carter! The Q&As are useful sources of information because they complement each other well. They each provide a different perspective on ag-biotech. “The Lowdown on GMOs with a Scientist” covers misinformation about biotechnology, how non-scientists can differentiate
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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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The Lowdown on GMOs with Kevin Folta

When looking for information on a subject as deeply complex as agricultural biotechnology, it’s important to get the facts from reputable experts. Fourat Janabi is a writer, entrepreneur, and photographer who has worked around the world, spanning 27 countries and 5 continents. Yet, even a worldly individual like Janabi can be easily misled when it comes to ag-biotech. Much like environmentalist Mark Lynas and a number of others who were previously staunch opponents of biotech food, he has now embraced the evidence and apologetically states “I had no idea what I was talking about.” He explains that he had formerly
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Why I work for Okanagan Specialty Fruits

Not many people are as lucky as I was to grow up in the orchard-filled Okanagan, where I had the opportunity to help get delicious BC apples and cherries off the trees and into the hands of fruit lovers everywhere. Whether picking fruit or working in the packing house (even the icy cold room!), every step of the way is a rewarding experience. One of the orchards I had the pleasure of working in was that of OSF founders Neal & Louisa Carter. Orchardists are salt-of-the-earth people, and the Carters are no exception. They truly love what they do, and
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Arctic® apples approach 2nd U.S. comment period

Arctic® apples are continuing their steady progress towards deregulation and commercialization, with the second U.S. public comment period expected to open this spring. This past year, we saw public comment periods in both Canada (May-July) and the U.S. (July-Sept.) successfully conclude, receiving over 5,000 comments in total. It was certainly an eventful 2012, but we expect 2013 to be even more “fruitful”, and here’s why: While the first 60-day U.S. public comment shared our 163 page petition requesting deregulation, two new documents will be made publically available for the second comment period. The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), a branch of the
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