An interview with our lab experts about the quality and safety of our blueberries
We visited the biological control lab and spoke with researcher Eder Flores to learn more about the safety and quality of our berries. Did we just say ‘safety’? Believe it or not, fruits and vegetables aren’t always as natural as they should be. For the past few years, ‘non-GMO’ seems to have become a trending term placed on supermarket products, but to us it’s so much more than a fashionable label on our clamshells of berries. Find out how our team at The Berry That Cares takes quality to a whole new level by ensuring that health and environmental risks are kept at bay.
There seems to be some misinformation regarding non-GMO products. Can you define what GMO means?
A genetically modified organism or GMO usually refers to an organism that’s been manipulated by modifying genes through ways that don't occur naturally, such as genetic engineering. During this kind of process DNA is taken from a different species, such as an insect, and inserted into a crop in order to pass specific genetic traits. These approaches are applied by biotech industries to reduce costs and to generate higher crop yields with fewer inputs. Even though there is no evidence-based explanations that assure the risk level consumers undertake when consuming GMOs, there are a few possible threats faced when we consume such products.
What are the main threats and how do they affect us?
There are basically two main threats: the first is environmental and the second is health related. There is an environmental threat faced when a strange gene is inserted into a plant and this plant transfers the gene to other plants through cross contamination. Also, GMO crops are usually modified to resist insects and herbicides, which is definitely not good for our environment. Our personal health is put at risk as well considering that it may have an allergen that can provoke or trigger an allergic reaction. Many scientists in this field of study assure they may cause harm in our inflammatory and immune systems. Having no certainty that this is true, we'd rather not take the risk. Instead, we operate through biological control strategies always with an aim to keep ecological balance.
Does Peru have restrictions or bans on the production and sale of GMOs?
Many countries around the world including Peru have restrictions and bans on the sale and cultivation of GMOs. Actually it is not allowed to do any testing or experiments with GMOs. What we can do is work inside closed labs but strictly for research purposes.
What are your basic principles when growing berries?
Our innovation will always be driven by our effort to be more productive, sustainable and environmentally sensitive. We base our production on biological control, fighting insect against insect or insect against bacteria. As we’re committed to research and technology, we strongly care about the quality of our berries and make sure that we reach the highest standards of flavor and freshness by following every step of the process, from bush to table. Our team plays a key part in all this process as they provide their know-how, experience and passion for nature in order to obtain the best results.