Credits: FILE PHOTO
Canadian biotech company Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc. has applied to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency for permission to grow and market its ‘arctic granny' and ‘arctic golden' apples.
The genetically engineered fruit, initially developed in Australia, was created with its gene responsible for enzymatic browning turned off, or "silenced."
There are other varieties of apples, such as empires, that keep their white flesh even when exposed for several hours, but the arctics are completely non-browning, and will remain white for several days, even weeks.
Okanagan Specialty Fruits hopes to complete the approval process by this summer in Canada and the United States so it can begin planting its trees next year.
The company said test fruit could be expected the year after.
"Our focus right now is working with the industry to ... allay their concerns," said Okanagan's founder and grower, Neal Carter.
He said the benefits of an all-white, all-the-time apple are sure to outweigh the concerns of the public about genetically modified fruit.
Growers, for instance, will be able to sell more apples because they won't be throwing out bruised and brown fruit. That means packers will get more apples at higher grades. And fresh-cut processors won't have to chemically treat the fruit, and juice processors will get clearer juice.
The arctic apple "has all the GM baggage," said Carter, but "at the end of the day, it's just a very nice apple that doesn't go brown."