Genetically Engineered Apples
Apples grown in the United States are healthy, delicious and provide essential antioxidents that are linked to protection from chronic diseases. There are no genetically engineered (GE) or genetically modified (GMO) apples available to consumers. There have been recent stories in the press regarding a proposal before the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to deregulate (allow to be freely planted) “ArcticTM” apples, which are gentically engineered to prevent browning. (see Why Apples Brown) The U.S. Apple Association (USApple) does not support the approval of this product.
‣ Consumers like their apples and are not calling for these new “nonbrowning” cultivars. The apples under review have been engineered to prevent or “turn off” the expression of the gene that affects the browning of apples.
‣ Browning is a normal process resulting from exposure to oxygen. Apples that are naturally very low browning are already in the marketplace. In addition, lightly coating sliced or cut apples with Vitamin C-fortified apple juice delays browning prior to serving. (Most apple juice is fortified with Vitamin C.)
‣ USApple’s position is not based on any question about human health or safety.
‣ USApple informed USDA’s Animal Plant Health Inspective Service (APHIS) last year of our opposition to the full deregulation of these GE apples. Our position remains unchanged.
‣ There are no GE apples currently sold in our country’s marketplace.
‣ In order to continue discovering new and valuable benefits from apples, USApple supports advancements from technology and genetics and genomics research. Benefits can include attributes such as quality, new apple varieties, new aromatic flavor profiles, improved pest resistance and enhanced nutrition from tree to table.
‣ Ultimately, the future of GE apples in the United States will be determined by USDA’s decision on the two petitions and by the marketplace. The market will have time to decide, since new apple trees take years to come into production after starting in the plant nursery and being planted in the orchard.