GMO Answers website launched

This week, a great new campaign titled “GMO Answers” has launched, and it looks to be one of the best new resources for consumers on all things GMO-related. As reported by the New York Times, the initiative focuses on providing factual, accessible information to consumers – led by the centerpiece website GMOAnswers.com. We’ve talked about the importance of transparency in the ag-biotech industry before, and transparency is a key motivation behind the GMO Answers campaign. The industry readily admits it hasn’t always done the best job communicating about GMOs, and invites consumers to ask the “tough questions”. GMO Answers was
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Getting social about ag-biotech

Like learning about medical concerns, it’s difficult to obtain accurate, easy-to-understand information about ag-biotech. The science is complex, and even more challenging, much of the information available is either polarized or just plain wrong. So how do you separate the wheat from the chaff? Biotech supporters often point to the hundreds of peer-reviewed studies, which can be overly complicated, while opponents tend to over-simplify by claiming biotech crops “aren’t natural” (a flawed argument) and use scary, fabricated imagery of syringes and animal-plant hybrids rather than by providing evidence. One solution is to simply trust the independent experts, such as the
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@ArcticApples TwitterView with @PythaCrank

Last week, Okanagan Specialty Fruits participated in a live, interactive Twitter interview (TwitterView) with blogger @PythaCrank. Many topics were covered, from what it’s like being a small fish in such a big pond, to the safety and science behind Arctic® apples; and it’s all wrapped in a decidedly tongue-in-cheek tone! We always do our best to emphasize transparency and open communication in all we do, and were thrilled to answer @PythaCrank’s hard-hitting questions. Agricultural biotechnology can often be complicated and overly politicized, but we think you’ll find this interview proves it definitely doesn’t have to be dry or boring! We
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Blogger Betsie Estes: OSF offers transparency, consumer benefits

Betsie Estes, in her own words, is a “Mom, wife, 9-5’er, blogger, Field Mom (@FieldMomBetsie), maid, chef and chauffer.” Over at her blog, Super Suburbs, she shares her thoughts on anything and everything – including agriculture and biotech foods. Last month, she got the chance to see a presentation from OSF president Neal Carter at BIO 2013, and today she shares her thoughts on our company and nonbrowning Arctic® apples: I have been fortunate enough to have some very enlightening experiences over the past few years, from touring farms to talking to scientists, and along the way I am learning
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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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Dr. McHughen on overcoming junk science

 If the scientific consensus is that biotech foods are safe and offer numerous benefits, why is the technology still controversial to some? Dr. Alan McHughen does an excellent job at answering this question in an article published on January 23 by C2C Journal. Dr. McHughen is well-credentialed to speak on the subject, as in addition to having a B.Sc (Honours) in Biology/Biochemistry from Dalhousie University, he earned his doctorate from Oxford University and worked at Yale University before joining the University of California. Dr. McHughen’s numerous publications and industry experience allow him to explain biotechnology in accurate, consumer-friendly terms.  His latest
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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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Sharing our favourite biotech bloggers

Agricultural biotechnology is a fascinating subject (we think so at least!), though it’s not exactly the most accessible due to the complex science involved. This is one of the reasons that, despite the average American eating their own weight in biotech foods each year, biotechnology remains a mystery to so many. For this reason, it is essential that those who support the benefits agricultural biotechnology can offer engage in open and transparent discussion in language the general public can understand. Here are a few online sources that fit that bill:  Tomorrow’s Table – Written by Dr. Pamela Ronald, Ph.D (Twitter:
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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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