Sunday, April 15, 2012

Genetically Modified Crops – Pineapple

A variety of foods can be genetically modified using biotechnology – these are known as GM [Genetically Modified] foods. Through genetic engineering the genetic material is altered. Selected individual genes with specific traits are transferred from one organism to another. Traditional breeding can achieve similar effects, but it takes a lot of time. Genetic modification of food is not new because food crops and animals have been altered through selective breeding for ages. However, while genes can be transferred during selective plant breeding, the scope for exchanging genetic material is much wider using genetic engineering. Today many foods have been modified to increase productivity and to make them resistant to insects and viruses and more able to tolerate herbicides. Crops have been modified for these purposes in a number of countries, with approval from the relevant authorities. In the US market now, 60-70% of the processed foods are genetically modified.

Among many crops is also the Pineapple that has been modified genetically to enable them to remain fresh for a longer period of time thus increasing their shelf life.

Pineapple (Ananas comosus), a tropical plant with edible multiple fruit consisting of coalesced berries, named forthat resembles ance to the pine cone. Pineapples may be cultivated from the part containing the leaves above the fruit, flowering in 20-24 months and fruiting in the following six months. Once removed during cleaning, the top of the pineapple can be planted in soil and a new plant will grow.

Southeast Asia dominates world production. Thailand and the Philippines are leading producers. Brazil too is a big producer. The primary exporters of fresh pineapples are Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire and the Philippines.

Costa Rica and Hawai are the two countries known for their GM Pineapples. Since about 2000, the most common fresh pineapple fruit found in U.S. and European supermarkets is a low-acid hybrid that was developed in Hawaii in the early 1970s. In commercial farming, flowering can be induced artificially, and the early harvesting of the main fruit can encourage the development of a second crop of smaller fruits.

The Costa Rican Government granted LM Veintiuno permission to expand the area cultivated with a genetically modified (GM) pineapple called “Piña Rose”. They granted the permission despite the doubts and the lack of information on the impacts of large-scale GM pineapple production. LM Veintiuno has experimented with growing GM pineapple since 2005 in the south of Costa Rica, on land that belongs to a subsidiary of Del Monte.  There have been protests recently as GM crops entail environmental risks and risks to human health which include problems of water pollution, erosion and destruction of forests.



  1. No GM pineapple are currently being sold and no GM pineapple has been approved for sale from any country. The pineapple referred to above that has a long shelf-life is 'MD-2', a.k.a. Del Monte Gold and Dole Premium Select, among many others, was produced in Hawaii by conventional breeding when GM technologies were in the early development stages.

  2. The main pineapple discussed in the article is "Pina Rose", NOT Del Monte Gold. The latter is mentioned as the most common in markets now. But they wouldn't be getting a USDA permit for Pina Rose unless they had intentions to bring it here. And soon.