SUMMERLAND, B.C. — A third non-browning, genetically modified apple has been approved by the USDA.
The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of USDA has granted deregulated status to the Arctic Fuji developed by Okanagan Specialty Fruits of Summerland, B.C.
The Fuji joins the Arctic Golden and Arctic Granny Smith varieties as deregulated and deemed as safe and nutritious as conventional apples by APHIS.
“The response to Arctic Fuji apples and our overall platform to deliver direct benefits to consumers has been encouraging,” said Neal Carter, Okanagan Specialty Fruits founder and president.
“We are confident the positive feedback we have received will translate to the marketplace,” he said.
The company’s Arctic apples have been changed through a reduction of the enzyme polyphenol oxidase, the primary cause of browning in fruit. It reduces browning when the apples are sliced, bitten or bruised without using flavor-altering chemical additives that the fresh-sliced apple industry uses.
In August, Carter said about 1,000 to 1,200, 40-pound boxes of Arctic Golden will be sliced and sold in test marketing in grocery stores in the western U.S. this fall.
Retailers, food service and quick-serve restaurants all have expressed interest in the apples and Okanagan Specialty Fruits will grow, process and market the apples, focusing on packaging and sales of sliced apples, he said.
This fall’s test marketing will help determine packaging and pricing, he said. The apples will be labeled as genetically modified in the nutritional information area of packaging when regulations require it, he said.
The company is counting on a mix of its own orchards and contract growers to grow the fruit in the Northwest, East Coast and Canada.
The company will seek approval of an Arctic Gala next year, hoping for approval in 2017 or 2018.