The orange is under threat worldwide from citrus greening, a bacterium spread by Asian citrus psyllids that sours the fruit and leaves them half green. The disease has already devastated orange trees in Asia, South and Central America and now the USA. This story in the NY Times follows the journey of one Florida grower to see if a GMO orange with a gene from spinach could save the industry. It raises lots of interesting questions about our horror of genetically modified food. Justifiable? Knee jerk? Plain unrealistic? Maybe even fuelled and financed by companies that sell organic products?
The huge Florida-based citrus industry has been working hard to find non-pesticide solutions to citrus greening which has already destroyed as much as 25% of its crops. South American citrus growers have already had to abandon many growing areas. But with an exhaustive world-wide search for any resistant orange strains failing, Ricke Kress, a Florida grower, has poured millions onto GMO research as the only way to keep fresh oranges and their juice on the breakfast menu.
This NY Times story is long but a very thought provoking read. Especially if you think your mind is already made up about whether we should eat, or even allow GMO food in our shops and homes. Challenge yourself.