GMO Bites

by Lucy Sharratt, Canadian Biotechnology Action Network

GM apple doomed

McDonald’s and Gerber have said they have no plans to buy the GM “non-browning” apple that could be approved this year in Canada and the US. Now, the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network and the Society for a GE Free BC are asking Canadians to write to the head office of their grocery stores and ask them to pledge not to carry the GM apple.

In Canada, we know that letters from customers to grocery stores and food companies are very influential. The customer is always right and it’s now time to tell your grocery store and food company what you want. A new online survey from market research company Insights shows that 56% of people in British Columbia and 50% in Alberta would support a ban on GM foods in Canada. Increasingly, these people are making their views heard by the companies that make or sell the food they buy. That’s you.

GM out: the customer is always right

There are no labels on genetically modified (GM, also called genetically engineered) foods in North America because the biotech industry knows the customer is always right. If there were mandatory labelling, customers could easily reject GM foods on supermarket shelves. But even without labels, many consumers are rejecting GM foods and convincing some food companies to do the same.

Food manufacturers are beginning to bend to consumer demands for non-GM food. Targeted consumer fury recently compelled General Mills to switch into brand-protection mode and announce it will remove GM ingredients (cornstarch and sugar) from its Original Cheerios recipe. Post company followed suit with its Grape Nuts cereal. While these are hugely significant moves, these cereals actually only contain a few GM ingredients so these products are an easy place for the companies to start.

Grocery chain Whole Foods will require labelling of all GM foods in its stores by 2018 and that one decision has already had an impact on many food companies. If companies want to sell their products in Whole Foods, which is set to open more stores across Canada, they will need to label or remove GM ingredients. Removing them is a long-term calculation that bets on continuing consumer backlash to GM.

BC retailer Left Coast Naturals is determined to become 100% non-GMO by December 2015, with the help of the Non-GMO Project and cereal company Nature’s Path has been well above the curve for many years.

What is the GM “non-browning” apple?

A genetically modified apple could be approved in Canada and the US this year. The apple is genetically modified to not turn brown after being cut, with modified apple DNA and genetic material from two bacteria and one virus.

The GM “non-browning” apples are designed to look fresh when they’re not and will mislead customers; 69% of Canadians don’t want the GM apple approved.

GM contamination threatens the future of our apples and the farmers who grow them. The BC Fruit Growers Association officially opposes the GM apple and the U.S. Apple Association “does not support the approval of this product.”

This GM apple would be the first GM apple in the world and the first GM fruit to be grown in Canada

Action alert: tell your grocery store

to ban the GM apple

1. Visit your local grocery store and ask the manager to commit never to stock the GM apple.

2. Write to the head office of your grocery store and ask them to commit to keep GM apples out of the produce section.

These two actions will be very influential. The consumer is always right.

For “Talking Points” info to help you talk about the apple at your grocery store, visit

For more info and action, see

For actions in BC check out,

1 thought on “GMO Bites”

  1. GMO Apples will turn a lot of people away from all apples as many of us just want to stay to hell away from all GMO’s. When you know there is a GMO apple out there and you do not want your kids eating it you just eliminate apples from your grocery list and the growers suffer.


Leave a comment