Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving

Hypoallergenic apples



Continuing on with the apple-theme from yesterday; researchers have been working on growing hypoallergenic apples. One group has been working on genetically modifying apple trees so that they produce apples containing fewer allergens. Another team has been working on breeding apple trees so that they produce similarly hypoallergenic apples.

Honestly, I think this is kind of ridiculous. Putting aside the potential issues stemming from genetic modification, I still have quibbles with the efforts ti develop hypoallergenic apples. For one thing, apples are not a commonly allergenic food. For another, I think this is taking the wrong approach to the problem. I think research would be better put into determining why people develop allergies and figuring out how to prevent or cure the allergy itself. It’s similar to treating symptoms rather than the root cause of an illness. The problem is not the apple.

Author: Diana

I'm a registered dietitian from Nova Scotia, living and working in Ontario, Canada. My goal is to help people see food and nutrition from a different perspective and understand that nutrition and health are not necessarily a result of personal choice.

2 thoughts on “Hypoallergenic apples

  1. I am the italian scientist working on hypoallergenic apples by “traditional” breeding techniques. While some colleagues of mine (in Netherlands) decided to put their efforts on genetically modify apple to gain a hypoallergenic variety, I chose a different strategy. You and all the consumers, especially the allergic ones, must be aware that the problem of food allergies, not common in the case of apple but still increasing its prevalence, is being faced from different frontlines. Allergologists and immunologists are working hard. Also plant scientists are working hard, just because the problem is complex and needs different competencies and multidisciplinarity. Searching for apple varieties with hypoallergenic features may be useful to develop vaccines, for example. In fact, there may be some natural hypoallergenic forms of the major apple allergens that can be eaten without causing extreme symptoms. I disagree with you also concerning another thing. The fact is that the problem may be the apple. Currently available apple varieties have been artificially selected mainly according to agricultural/commercial parameters (resistance to pathogens, harvest time, color, taste, storability, etc.) and this may have caused a wrong selection of allergenic characteristics. I am also trying to understand this, to avoid it to occur again in the future breeding programmes.
    Please let me know if you need further information about it. I care about it.
    My regards,
    Alessandro Botton


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