The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Okanagan Specialty Fruits’ newest non-browning Arctic apple variety, the Arctic Fuji.
The genetically modified apple completed the voluntary review process with the FDA last week.
Arctic Fuji’s are the third apple variety Canada-based OSF has been approved to grow, along with Arctic Golden and Arctic Granny apples that previously received regulatory approval in 2015.
“Completion of this FDA review is important news for our company as it marks the last step needed for Arctic® Fuji to officially join our commercial orchards,” explained Neal Carter, president of OSF.
“We get a lot of feedback from people about what Arctic® variety they’re excited to see next, and this latest announcement allows us to provide consumers with even more choice when it comes to purchasing value-added fruits for their families to enjoy.”
Through biotechnology, the enzyme in Arctic apples responsible for browning has been turned off. This can significantly impact unnecessary food waste when it comes to apples that would normally get thrown out after they have turned brown from getting bruised, sliced, or bitten, enabling the unique non-browning trait to benefit every sector of the supply chain.
Arctic apples were commercially available for the first time in the fall of 2017 in select U.S. cities, and availability has increased as more trees are planted and fruit volumes increase.
“There have been some major developments for OSF recently, and I’m excited to see what comes next as this is definitely just the start for us,” says Carter.
The announcement follows Arctic Fuji approvals by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS) granted Sept. 23, 2016, and Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Health Canada on Jan. 30, 2018.
The FDA is expected to post a letter announcing the completion of their evaluation on their website in the coming weeks.