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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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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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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Mandatory labeling is misleading

Even with California’s Proposition 37 failing last November (for good reason), mandatory labeling of biotech foods remains a hot topic. New labeling initiatives are underway in Washington, Oregon, New Mexico and several other states. While some of the language in these initiatives differs from that of Prop-37, the true motivation behind them is the same: unnecessarily scaring consumers away from biotech foods. While we support transparency with consumers, which is what the “Right to Know” camp boasts is their noble purpose, simply slapping a “GMO” label onto food does not provide any meaningful information. What’s even worse, for a campaign centered on the idea of public education, they
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The next wave of biotech crops

Biotech crops have been widespread in the marketplace for nearly twenty years and have had great success – but the best is yet to come! We are better equipped to deal with the numerous agricultural challenges we face due to our advancements in understanding plant genomics. First and foremost among these challenges is a rapidly rising global population. It’s been well-documented that, according to the UN, the global population is projected to rise to ~9 billion by 2040 and the world will need “at least 50 percent more food” by 2030. Feeding a couple billion extra people will be no
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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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Addressing common misconceptions of Arctic® orchards and fruit

During the recent U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) public comment period on Arctic® Granny and Arctic® Golden apples, a number of re-occurring misconceptions arose which are addressed in this blog. Agricultural biotechnology, which consumers are self-admittedly uniformed about, is a complicated subject. When there’s a new product that utilizes this technology, myths and incorrect information commonly follow. Biotechnology is a polarizing topic for many and unfortunately, this has led to a vocal minority propagating erroneous statements that mislead the general public.  Perhaps the most widely spread myth is that Arctic® apple orchards will cross-pollinate with organic orchards, causing them to
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Agricultural biotechnology – transparency is essential!

With the benefits of crop biotechnology clearer than ever, it makes sense that media and public perception is increasingly positive. A recent article from the UK suggests the debate over biotech crops has “grown up” due to the willingness of scientists and biotech companies to be more open and transparent. Transparency is an important quality for companies that deal with such complex subject matter as biotechnology. We believe that it’s our job to share the ins and outs of our technology in a way that everyone can comprehend. Really, who better than those who understand the technology best – the companies
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Consumers Should Get To Try The First Biotech Apples

Since the United States Department of Agriculture opened the 60-day public comment period on our petition for the deregulation of Arctic® Apples, there has been a huge amount of media attention. Many articles have been published over the past two weeks and we are pleased to share one of the most well-read, articulate ones so far. Dr. Steve Savage has over 30 years of experience in agricultural technology and wrote “Consumers Should Get To Try The First Biotech Apples”, which is posted on his site: Applied Mythology.   We encourage you to click here to view this article in full on
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Exploring the marker gene used in Arctic® apples

As you can read about in our FAQ section, the process required to transform a conventional apple to an Arctic® variety necessitates the use of a marker gene that makes the plant tissue resistant to the antibiotic kanamycin. This process requires a doctorate in molecular biology to fully comprehend, so we turn to our head scientist John Armstrong, who just happens to have these credentials.  Should people worry that the insertion of our marker gene may add a new protein to Arctic® apples? The simple answer is no, as there are no proteins expressed in Arctic® apples that aren’t in conventional apples.
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