February 22, 2015
Authored by: Brandon Neuschafer
On February 13, 2015, the Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service approved the Arctic apple, a genetically modified strain of apple developed to resist browning. A Canadian company, Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc., first filed its petition for deregulation nearly three years ago. The technology works by “turning off” the production of a certain enzyme that is produced when an apple is cut or bruised. The Arctic apple is the one of the first deregulated genetically modified products designed to promote consumer-preferred traits, as opposed to traits like herbicide tolerance that promote certain production practices.
Notwithstanding APHIS’s approval, the question still remains of whether and how widely producers and consumers will adopt the technology in today’s environment surrounding GMOs. Because it will be at least five to seven years before Arctic apple trees can bear fruit that can be marketed, producers will be required to do some significant