USDA Approves GMO Apples

While new GMO apples were recently approved by the USDA, they will not be hitting grocery stores anytime soon. Developed by Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc. (OSF), the USDA approved on Feb. 14 two apple varieties that have been genetically engineered to resist browning. These varieties will be marketed as Arctic Granny and Arctic Golden by OSF. According to the USDA’s announcement, reviews on the two apples found that Arctic apples “are unlikely to pose a plant pest risk” and deregulation “is not likely to have a significant impact on the human environment.”

But consumers will have to wait a little longer to purchase the apples  since apple trees take several years to produce 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,” said Neal Carter, president and founder of OSF explains in a press release.

Carter estimates that Arctic apples will first be available in late 2016 in small, test-market quantities while and wide distribution to slowly following, possible years for the nonbrowning Arctic fruit.