Genetically Engineered “Arctic” Apple Will Never Turn Brown

Canada-based Okanagan Specialty Fruits is pitching a genetically engineered apple that does not turn brown when bruised or exposed to air. This new technology, available in both Granny Smiths and Golden Delicious, introduces a synthetic gene that drastically cuts down on the enzyme responsible for browning.

As with the introduction of snack-sized baby carrots, Okanagon Specialty Fruits president Neal Carter is positive that his Arctic apples will remove consumers’ issues with eating an entire fruit at once. According to Carter, “If you had a bowl of apples at a meeting, people wouldn’t take an apple out of the bowl. But if you had a plate of apple slices, everyone would take a slice.” Carter hopes his fruit will reverse declining rates of apple consumption, and will help to curtail the number of apples tossed for minor browning.

While GM ingredients in processed foods are fairly common in the United States, this may be the the first trangenic “whole” food to be widely available. Environmental groups are concerned that the technology will promote the sale of pre-sliced apples in plastic bags, rather than in their edible, biodegradable skins. Other apple growers worry that manipulated Macintoshes will tarnish the reputation of apples as a wholesome, all-natural food. Of course, there may be little need for Arctic apples at all. Coating fresh apple slices in lemon juice (or vitamin C, for commercial applications) is an old and proven trick for preventing blotches.

Via the New York Times.

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