July 14, 2012

Apples That Never Turn Brown?

I recently read a NY Times article entitled "That Fresh Look, Genetically Buffed." A new genetically engineered apple is being marketed. This apple is made so that it won't turn brown when sliced or bruised.


Isn't that a huge component of a fresh apple? Maybe I'd actually like to know if my apple has been sitting around for awhile.

One of their top reasons for this developement is this: "A whole apple is 'for many people too big a commitment,' he said. 'If you had a bowl of apples at a meeting, people wouldn’t take an apple out of the bowl. But if you had a plate of apple slices, everyone would take a slice.' "

I'm all for getting people to eat more fresh fruit, but I don't think this is the best answer. Genetically engineered food, no matter whether it's fresh or packaged, all has the same problem. It hasn't been around long enough to test the ramifications it may have on our bodies & on our earth.

As a Christian, I believe the God created everything in His perfect image. This includes apples. He wanted them to turn brown when exposed to air. He wanted us to know whether they were bruised. Why are we messing around with nature?

One of the problems that they are concerned about is that "the Arctic technology might not keep the apples from turning brown for the required 16 to 21 days." Why would we want to eat an apple that has been exposed to air for 16-21 days? That sounds dangerous to me. Apples come in their very own perfect packaging - the skin. Do they bruise if not handled with care? Yes. But the skin protects the apple & the nutrients it contains. As soon as we start cutting it up, packaging it in plastic, & giving it a long shelf life, we lose nutrients, add extra costs, & waste valuable resources.

An advocate of the genetically engineered apple said "the nonbrowning trait would help growers and packers. 'We discard an awful lot of fruit for even minor bruising,' he said."  In that case, why are they discarding the fruit? There are a lot of hungry people in this country/world who would happily eat a bruised apple. Cut away the bruised part, & you still have plenty of fruit to eat. It's a shame that so much food goes to waste simply because American consumers demand perfection.

Next time you have a bruised apple, don't throw it away! Make applesauce, or Apple Pumpkin Beer Bread. Throw the good parts into pancakes or oatmeal. Or just dip the slices in peanut butter! There are many options.

We don't need our apples to never brown. We just need to be willing to accept a few imperfections. In that respect, apples aren't much different than humans. Just because they aren't perfect doesn't mean we don't love them!


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