To say that Washington is known for apples is to say that Italy is known for Catholicism. So when news broke today that Okanagan Specialty Fruits in British Columbia is trying to get genetically altered apples that don't brown as quickly as normal apples onto the U.S. market, more than a few fruit purists sounded concerned.
The company wants the United States Department of Agriculture to grant a license so it can sell the technology to growers in the U.S. and especially in Washington, where more than half the country's crop is grown.
Todd Fryhover, president of the Washington State Apple Commission, summed up his hesitancy toward mutant apples to the Associated Press, saying: "Genetically modified--that's a bad word in our industry."
Nevertheless, Neal Carter, president of the biotechnology company that's behind the apples (note, that's biotechnology company, not agriculture company or farm) says the fruit is the best thing to come along since the freakishly large modified raisin, the Graisin.
"They look like apple trees and grow like apple trees and produce apples that look like all (other) apples," Carter is quoted as saying, while leaving out the implied "but" that one should always avoid when describing the ways in which a weird, lab-produced food is similar to its natural counterpart.
Even if the apples are approved and growers start replanting their fields with the Frankenstein fruits, the apples will still need to be accepted by American buyers, who, at least of late, have shown to be trending more toward the natural and organic than the genetically modified and just-plain-weird.