How About Them Apples

Someone has well said, “Contrary to popular belief, it wasn’t the apple on the tree that got us kicked out of  the Garden of Eden, it was the pair on the ground.”

When Adam and Eve got booted out of  paradise, it not only changed them for the worse, it also did the  same to the apple they were eating.  This is because prior to the fall you could – bite into one of these juicy fruits, leave it for a while to tend to the garden, and then return to find the apple exactly as you left it.  But suddenly, brown spots began to appear, and soon, left to itself, the entire fruit degenerated into a brown mush (and so it has been since then till now).  However, on February 15, 2015, all that changed.  This was the date the U.S. government approved the first non-browning apple for human consumption.  It is called the Arctic Apple and was created in Canada by Okanagan Specialty Fruits of British Columbia.  Their first two non-browning varieties to be put in American grocery stores will be the Arctic Golden Apple and the Arctic Granny Apple.

Here’s how it works.  Genetically, the apple is very complicated (being composed of 57,000 different genes compared to the human’s 21,000); so it took scientists quite a while, eighteen years to be exact, to finally  discover that there were four genes that caused brownage. They then took an apple seed, disabled the four genes within it, and grew a new batch of the fruit.  Thereupon cutting the apple and exposing it to air, three days later it was still as white as could be.

And this is just the beginning.  The bio-tech company is also searching for the browning gene in other fruit (pears, peaches, bananas, etc.) to turn them off as well.  All this in the belief that there is a real consumer market out there for these non-browning varieties.  (As well, similar things are also being done with vegetables.  Recently, a botanist patented an onion whose tear-causing gene was disabled so people don’t cry when slicing them and whose scent-causing gene was turned off so your breath no longer smells after consuming it.)

As you can imagine, this has really revved up the GMO (genetically modified organisms) debate concerning man-made food mutations. On the one side, you have those who see it as science at its very best. On the other side, you have those who view it as a coming nutritional apocalypse (to quote a famous advertising slogan, “It’s not nice to fool with mother nature.”)  And what does the Scripture say?  The truth is, when it comes to GMOs, this is one of those areas where all reputable theologians agree that the Bible is basically silent on this specific issue.  So – Did the  apple just get better? Or did the apple just get worse?  Only God knows and He isn’t saying; meaning only time (and tummies) will tell.

✓Note – Although Canada does not require GMO fruits and GMO vegetables to be labelled, there is a way to tell if they are a GMO.  On many produce items you will find a little sticker with numbers on it.  These figures are officially known as a PLU (Price Look Up).  If there are four numbers, it is conventionally grown.  If there are five numbers with the first one being an eight, it is genetically grown.  If there are five numbers and the first one being a nine, it is organically grown.  Also, the glue holding the sticker on is an edible adhesive (but the sticker itself is not meant to be eaten).  Bon appétit.