Here's what you saw on Good Day Alabama on April 7, 2015:
• To genetically modify a food, scientists insert one gene from another organism into another organism
• Scientists do this so that the food will have a specific characteristic. For instance, there is a bacterium that produces a protein that acts as a natural insecticide. Scientists can take the single gene that produces that natural insecticide and insert it into corn seeds. The corn makes its own insecticide that protects it from destruction by caterpillars. This lowers the amount of pesticides that farmers have to use on the crop.
• Many people fear these foods because it sounds scary. But when you eat a food that is genetically modified, it does not mean that that gene is now part of your DNA.
• Because you are getting the protein that that gene produced, the biggest risk to humans is the possibility of an allergic reaction if you are allergic to that food.
• There could be risks to the environment as well.
• However, the FDA, the USDA, and the EPA all rigorously test GM foods to make sure that they are safe. GM foods and ingredients must meet the safe safety regulations that all other foods do.
What's new with these apples and potatoes?
• The new apples which come under the trade name "Arctic Apples" have been genetically engineered to lower the amount of the enzyme - a protein that speeds up chemical reactions - that causes your apples to bruise and brown when you cut them.
• The potato varieties that are produced under the trade name "Innate" have been altered to reduce the amount of acrylamide in the potatoes. Acrylamides form in some high carbohydrate foods when the food is heated. Acrylamides increase the risk of cancer in rodents. We don't know if they increase the risk of cancer in humans. But, this is a potentially healthy change in potatoes that could make them even healthier and safer for us.