As usual, the FDA is glossing over this new GMO and insisting it is safe to eat and no different from any other pineapple. They ignore the fact that the manipulation of genetic material in any organism causes unforeseen mutations or other impacts that cannot be predicted. How these engineered plants them interact with soil microorganisms, wildlife, songbirds or nearby ecosystems is also unknown. This is of particular concern since these are not annual plants, but are perennials that can live for years and openly pollinate, raising the threat of contamination of non-GMO pineapples.
Additionally, pineapple production is highly industrialized. Growers typically use 20 kg (44 lb) of pesticides per hectare in each growing cycle, a process that may affect soil quality and biodiversity. The pesticides – organophosphates, organochlorines, and hormone disruptors – have the potential to affect workers’ health and can contaminate local drinking water supplies. Many of these chemicals have potential to be carcinogens, and may be related to birth defects.
To promote such a potentially dangerous and unpredictable organism simply because it is prettier, more uniform and sweeter is positively ludicrous.
The genetically modified pink pineapple developed by Del Monte is safe to sell in the United States, the USDA decided Wednesday.
“(Del Monte) submitted information to the agency to demonstrate that the pink flesh pineapple is as safe and nutritious as its conventional counterparts,” the FDA told NBC News.
The pink pineapple has been genetically engineered to make the flesh pinker and sweeter than a traditional yellow pineapple by producing lower levels of enzymes that convert lycopene – the pink pigment present in tomatoes and watermelon – into yellow beta carotene, present in carrots.
“The plant’s flowering cycle has also been changed to provide for more uniform growth and quality,” according to Food Democracy Now.
The pineapple, which is grown in Costa Rica, was first developed in 2012 and was approved for importation by the USDA in April 2013. This approval was fast-tracked given the pineapple’s inability to “propagate and persist in the environment once they have been harvested,” according to USDA APHIS. The pink pineapple is allegedly impossible to grow without human intervention.
The pink pineapple joins several other genetically modified fruits and vegetables to receive recent approval for sale in the United States, including apples that do not turn brown when exposed to the air and several varieties of GMO potatoes that resist browning and bruising.
It also joins fast-growing GMO salmon, the first genetically modified animal protein to be approved for sale in the U.S.
The GMO labeling law signed by President Barack Obama in July requires the pink pineapple to be labeled as a genetically modified food when sold, though the manner in which it will be labeled remains to be established by the USDA.
Video on pink pineapple from Newsbeat Social: