GMO Apple Approved In US — “Arctic” Apple Approved For Use As Human Food – PlanetSave

GMO Apple Approved In US — “Arctic” Apple Approved For Use As Human Food

GMO apples are now coming to America, thanks to a recent decision by the US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).

Those federal regulators decided to approve two genetically engineered apple varieties — Arctic Granny and Arctic Golden — for sale as food for humans, in the US. The two new GMO apple varieties are resistant to browning — thereby intending to result in the phasing out of the use of citric acid, which is currently widely used for browning-resistance.

GMO apples

The two genetically modified apple varieties were created by the Canadian biotech company Okanagan Specialty Fruits.

The company’s president, Neal Carter, referred to the decision as “a monumental occasion”, and commented further by stating: “It is the biggest milestone yet for us, and we can’t wait until they’re available for consumers.”

According to Carter, the current plan is for the “Arctic” Apple varieties to be available to consumers starting in late 2016 — in small quantities. It’ll reportedly be several years before they’re widely available.

In an effort to sidestep many of the common issues with, and criticism of, GMO technology and food, the company has apparently only used tree fruit genes the creation of the apples — no genetics lifted straight out of a jellyfish, bacterium, or chimpanzee genome here, just tree fruit genes. Which were inserted into the genome of the new apple varieties via the rather expensive means used in genetic engineering.

That said, this is all coming to us straight from the company’s mouth, the specifics of the development process aren’t publicly available.

Reuters provides a bit more:

Still, the new Okanagan apples have drawn opposition. The Organic Consumers Association petitioned the USDA to deny approval. The group says the genetic changes that prevent browning could be harmful to human health.

As well, Ronnie Cummins, director of the Organic Consumers Association (OCA), said apples are typically sprayed with dozens of different pesticides and the genetic tinkering will allow for more pesticide treatment. The OCA will be pressuring food companies and retail outlets not to make use of the apples.

“This whole thing is just another big experiment on humans for no good reason,” he said.

Give the amount of money and time that must have gone into developing these — for nothing other than an aesthetic acquiesce to the modern consumer obsession with picture-perfect fruits and vegetables — I can’t help but scratch my head.

All of that money and time on nothing but a change of appearance?

Who does this make sense to?

Image Credit: Arctic Apple

About the Author

's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.
  • Steve Misosky

    There are always unintended consequences with GMOs. Do you remember the GMO tomato? All they did was turn off one gene to try and get uniform color. It changed the whole chemistry. There was less sugar, less phytonutrients, and they tasted like cardboard because of that. They pulled them out of the market because people didn’t want them and they have never been able to figure the problem out because there are always unintended consequences with GMOs.

  • Rei Miraa

    That is silly, “and the genetic tinkering will allow for more pesticide treatment.” The goal is to reduce the use. The arctic apple will Not increase pesticide use. honestly this opens the door to a faster way of making popular varieties immune to Fireblight. wouldn’t you be happy for them to not use antibiotics on the fruit because it can now be immune? Trust me Farmers want to use less chemicals (both conventional and organic) because of the cost. Some chemicals, one Quart costs over $700.

  • David

    The money and time that went into this long approval process, the complex technical development of such apples and the constant battle with an ignorant anti- lobby is more than laudable. I am not scratching my head. I am applauding. Well done Neal! This is what pioneers do.

  • ThePar

    Ohh I can’t wait…[sarcasm.] What is wrong with traditional grafting? Surely they wouldn’t have put all that effort into this for aesthetics. Considering the FDA/USDA’s cozy spot in Monsanto, et al’s pocket, those approvals literally mean nothing at all.

    • ThePar,
      you have no idea how long and slow this process was – this is a tiny company with no “cozy” spot with any regulator and no connection with Monsanto or any other big company. Traditional grafting would not accomplish this, besides all apple trees are grafted including these. You don’t grow apples from seeds unless you want something like a crab apple.

      • ThePar

        Privilege checked.

    • Rei Miraa

      grafting is the process that puts a scion onto a rootstalk ( all tree fruit are clones), it allows you to also switch varieties in an established orchard. example, cutting off all red delicious branches and grafting on honeycrisp. now its a honey crisp tree.
      also traditional apple breeding can take over 10 years for a new variety. look up Cosmic Crisp from WSU formerly known as WA 38.