A British Columbia-based company has gained the approval from the U.S. federal regulators to sell its genetically modified apples. The company has engineered the apples such that they resist turning brown after being cut. The move is expected to raise the aggression of local opponents of genetically modified organisms. The group is still down from their 2013 defeat as the government declined to accept their plea of putting labels on GMO foods mandatorily.
On the one hand, industry experts believe that the approval is unlikely to cast a major effect on the country’s main agricultural products. On the other hand, exporters have raised concerns that apple buyers from other countries that do not welcome the GMOs foods may not be pleased with the decision.
Okanagan Specialty Fruits has named the new apples “arctic apples,” which are produced by mixing genes from multiples apples. The company was motivated with the idea that non-brown apples would result in less wastage. On its website, the company has mentioned that it has been engaged in carrying out field trials of the apples since 2003.
The Summerland, B.C.-based Okanagan said that it is seeking to partner with companies across the U.S. that might be interested in “arctic apples.” However, in a press release, the company also informed that the product will not hit the market until late next year. In 2016 also, the company will introduce the apples in only small quantities initially.
The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved two varieties of the “arctic apples” in the country. The authorities also said that the products are unlikely to cause a plant pest risk. They also claimed that the apples are non-hazardous for the environment. The Washington Apple Commission’s President, Todd Fryhover, said that the products will be available in commercial quantities in four to five years.