U.S. authorities have granted approval for the commercial planting of genetically modified, non-browning apples, after an environmental and plant risk assessment came up positive.
In a release, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) said deregulation of Canadian company Okanagan Specialty Fruits’ (OSF) Arctic Granny and Arctic Golden apples would not be likely to have a significant impact on the human environment.
“The commercial approval of Arctic apples, our company’s flagship product, is the biggest milestone yet for us, and we can’t wait until they’re available for consumers,” said OSF president Neal Carter.
The Canadian company said consumers would still have to wait a bit longer for the product however, as the apple trees would take several years to bear significant quantities of fruit.
“Our focus is working with growers to get trees in the ground. As more trees are planted and they come into commercial production, there will be a slow, but steady market introduction,” Carter said, estimating the fruit would be available in late 2016 in small, test-market quantities.
He said consumers could feel confident in the rigorous review of Arctic apples, which had been in field trials for over a decade and were likely the most tested apples on the planet.
“All we’ve done is reduce the expression of a single enzyme; there are no novel proteins in Arctic fruit and their nutrition and composition is equivalent to their conventional counterparts,” he said.