Posted February 17, 2015
U.S. regulators have approved two genetically engineered apple varieties designed to resist browning, according to an Ag Professional article available here. The Des Moines Register also published an article available hereand Reuters here.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) approved the new apples that were developed by the Canadian biotech company Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc., as “unlikely to pose a plant pest risk to agriculture.”
The apples, Arctic Granny and Arctic Golden, are identical to their conventional counterparts except that they will not turn brown.
Neal Carter, president and founder of Okanagan, said he is confident that apple growers and consumers will accept the apples, according to The Des Moines Register.
“It looks like an apple, tastes like an apple and grows like an apple,” said Carter. Critics “can say whatever they want but we got the evidence. It’s an apple in every way.”
The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) petitioned the USDA to deny approval, and said the genetic changes that prevent browning could be harmful to human health, and pesticide levels on the apples could be excessive, according to Reuters.
The Food and Drug Administration, which has no mandatory review process for genetically engineered foods, is examining the new apples through a voluntary consultation with Okanagan.
Okanagan said its apples have undergone “rigorous review,” and are “likely the most tested apples on the planet.”
For more information on biotechnology, please visit the National Agricultural Law Center’s website here.