The arctic apple genetically nodified with the Kanamycin gene has caused an outcry with consumer advocacy groups. The GM apple is currently being reviewed by the US USDA and Canada’s Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) for approval as a result of a petition by Okanagan Specialty Fruits
The Center for disease control has already implemented a public warning to lower the use of antibiotics due to the spread of a new super bug that is completely resistant to any antibiotic currently on the market. Yet GM producers want to insert an antibiotic gene into food displaying a considerable lack of respect for public health concerns and increasing spread of antibiotic resistance. The Kanamycin gene is used generally as a marker in genetic engineering and confers cross resistance against other clinically important Kanamycin-related antibiotics.
The European union as a result may halt all of the US apple import to Europe as the US lack of regulatory standards do not match the more stringent EU requirements. Controversy has already arisen with the amount of pesticide that is being sprayed on US fruit and vegetable produce, especially with pesticides that are banned from the EU market.
The EU has already implemented a directive effective since 2001, that by 2008 any GM crops containing antibiotic marker genes will be phased out from the consumer market due to the adverse effects on human health and the environment.
Article 4 of the directive states:
Member States and the Commission shall ensure that GMOs which contain genes expressing resistance to antibiotics in use for medical or veterinary treatment are taken into particular consideration when carrying out an environmental risk assessment, with a view to identifying and phasing out antibiotic resistance markers (antibiotic markers) in GMOs which may have adverse effects on human health and the environment. This phasing out shall take place by the 31 December 2004 in the case of GMOs placed on the market according to part C and by 31 December 2008 in the case of GMOs authorised under part B.