Genetically Engineered Apples To Resist Browning Receive FDA Approval

arctic-apple

Don’t hope to see them too soon, yet they could be coming to your local market — two types of apples genetically modified to resist turning brown after they’re sliced.

The technique could boost up sales of apples for snacks, salads and other uses.

Arctic Golden and Arctic Granny Smith are being created by a Canadian firm, Specialty Fruits Inc. of Summerland, British Columbia.

The Agriculture Department approved it on Friday — saying the apples aren’t likely to pose a plant pest risk and or have “a major impact on the human environment.”

The first Arctic apples are expected to be available in late 2016 in small, test-market quantities.

It takes apple trees several years to develop significant quantities, so it will take time before the genetically engineered apples are widely distributed.

“We can’t wait until they’re available for consumers,” said the firm’s president and founder, Neal Carter.

Apples brown rapidly after they are sliced open and presented to air. The browning-resistant varieties are considered particularly attractive for use as pre-sliced apples, in fruit salad from salad bars and in the manufacturing of juice.

The company further stated that it is working on developing other browning-resistant apple varieties as well.

The nonprofit Center for Food Safety inquired whether browning-resistance will mask apples that no longer are fresh. The Environmental Working Group said the government’s verdict to permit marketing of the apples shows the need for mandatory, clear-labeling of genetically modified foods.

The Food and Drug Administration is not required to approve genetically engineered crops for consumption, but most companies will go through a voluntary safety review process with the FDA before they put them on the market.

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