Genetically Modified Apple Does Not Turn Brown

Jul 16, 2012 12:31 AM EDT | By Sriranjini

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Apples
The phrase: "An apple a day, keeps the doctor away," well it might actually be true. (Photo : flickr.com)

 

After corn and soy, now comes the genetically modified apple.

Okanagan Specialty Foods, a small company in British Columbia claims to have genetically modified apple which does not become brown, when bruised or sliced.

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The company believes that this will help increase apple sales, and be popular with the consumers and food service companies, alike, as they would not have to worry about having slices of apple turning brown.

Unfortunately, not everyone approves of introducing the Arctic Apples- as they are being called- into the mainstream market. The U.S. Apple Association, representative of the American apple industry, has voiced its opposition. It is their opinion that genetic modification will undermine the fruit's image as the ultimate source of nutrition.

"We don't think it's in the best interest of the apple industry of the United States to have that product in the marketplace at this time," said Christian Schlect, president of the Northwest Horticultural Council, which represents the tree-fruit industry in and around Washington State. This area produces about 60 percent of the nation's apples.

Apple consumption had fallen for a few years but it is once again steadily on the rise. Even McDonalds' includes apple slices in its Happy Meals.

Apple slices are usually coated with a bit of lemon juice or anything with Vitamin C to stop them from browning. "But it can affect the taste," says Neal Carter, founder and president of Okanagan Specialty Fruits.

Arctic Apples have been genetically modified to not release a chemical called polyphenol oxidase, which causes apples to brown.

But, critics like Lucy Sharatt, coordinator of Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, believe that this may prove to be a problem when it comes to rotting. They believe that one may not be able to tell the difference between a rotten and a fresh Arctic Apple.

Carter, on the other hand, says that if the apples were truly rotten, then they would still change color.

Not all are on the opposing side. John Rice of the Rice Fruit Company, a large apple packer in Pennsylvania, said he thought the non-browning trait would help growers and packers. "We discard an awful lot of fruit for even minor bruising," he said.

If the Arctic Apples are approved by the FDA, they will be the first genetically modified fruit that people can actually bite into.

 

 

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