No GMO Apples

Consumers: Take action to tell fast food companies not to sell the GMO apple.

Companies: Fast food restaurants, baby food and other food companies and retailers can demonstrate leadership on this issue by committing to not source or sell GMO apples.

Contact us to share your policy on GMO apples.

Genetically engineered apples: Any way you slice it, a rotten idea

One bad apple really can spoil the whole barrel, especially if it’s been genetically engineered. And soon Snow White may not be the only one with reason to be concerned about apples. The new genetically engineered Arctic Apple® was approved by the USDA on February 13, 2015, and like other GMOs it won’t be labeled and won’t have undergone independent safety testing -- regulators will rely on the company’s own assessment that the apple is safe for human consumption.

Apple growers and consumer alike have said they don’t need or want this GMO apple, but it could soon end up in everything from baby food to school lunches, posing risks to our health, our environment and apple farmers across the U.S.

Despite this approval, major food companies, including McDonald's and Gerber, have already stated that they have no plans to source or sell this genetically engineered apple. Baby food companies are one of the most significant purchasers of apples and Friends of the Earth is urging them, fast food restaurants and other food companies to also commit to not sell food made with this unnecessary and potentially problematic GMO apple, should it come to market.

Learn more:

Press releases

Read our fact sheet on GMO apples 

Read the letters Friends of the Earth sent to GerberMcDonald's, Burger King, Subway, Wendy's and Dunkin Brands

Read the responses from Gerber and McDonald's

Read our press release on the Gerber and McDonald's announcement.


Risky and unnecessary

This GMO apple was genetically engineered via a new, virtually untested experimental technique called RNA interference which many scientists are concerned may have negative unintended impacts on human health and the environment. The Arctic Apple® was not designed for increased nutritional value, but for purely cosmetic purposes -- it was genetically engineered to not brown when cut. However, browning in apples can be prevented naturally by applying lemon juice or another source of vitamin C -- making this new risky genetically engineered apple unnecessary.

Apples already carry some of the highest levels of toxic pesticide residues, many of them linked to hormone disruption, reproductive harm and even ADHD. Pound for pound, kids eat more food and have higher levels of pesticide exposure -- and we know that early life exposures to toxic pesticides can be especially harmful. This is yet another reason that we don’t need to introduce this new GMO apple into one of baby’s first foods.

Apple farmers rejecting this “one bad apple"

Farmers are also concerned that this “one bad apple” could spoil the whole bunch -- harming sales here and abroad. Apple growers, including the U.S. Apple Association (which represents most commercial apple growers), Northwest Horticultural Council (which represents Washington apple growers who grow over 60 percent of the apples in the U.S. and more than 80 percent of the U.S.-certified organic apples), British Columbia Fruit Growers Association and other grower groups have already voiced their disapproval of these GMO apples due to the negative impact they could have on farmers growing organic and non-GMO apples and the apple industry as a whole.

The U.S. Apple Association reports it does not support the approval of genetically engineered apples because it could risk consumer rejection and undermine the fruit’s image as a healthy and natural food, one that “keeps the doctor away and is as American as, well, apple pie.” GMO apples may contaminate nearby organic and conventional apple orchards and could potentially cause valuable export markets to reject U.S. apples as happened in past when wheat and rice crops were found to be contaminated by GMOs. Apple farmers are justifiably worried -- more than a third of apple revenue is derived from exports.

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