Despite the overwhelming scientific consensus that genetically modified foods are safe for human consumption, Americans are generally distrustful of all types of GMOs. An ABC poll from last year found that more than half of Americans believe that GMO foods are unsafe. However, the relative lack of outrage over the forthcoming release of “non-browning” genetically modified apples could mean public perception of GMOs may be changing. This would be an important step towards reducing food waste, fighting global malnutrition, and helping the environment.
If American public opinion is finally turning against anti-GMO rhetoric, it is about time. There is no scientific debate about the safety of genetically modified foods; a recent Pew Research poll even found a greater scientific consensus for GMO safety than anthropogenic climate change. And as Mark Lynas of the Cornell Alliance for Science has pointed out, many of the same tactics used by climate change deniers are mirrored by the anti-GMO movement.
The case of these genetically modified apples is hardly any different. The apples take much longer (about three weeks) to oxidize or turn brown after being exposed to the open air. By “silencing” a chemical that plays no role in apples today, scientists were able to reduce the browning effect of oxidization while retaining safety and nutritiousness.
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