Modified ‘Arctic Apple’ stays white as snow, promises not to brown: Meet the Arctic Apple, a genetically modified apple so that it- true to its name stays snow white when cut.
“We anticipate the Modified ‘Arctic Apple’ to have the fastest commercial ramp-up in the history of the apple business,” says Neal Carter, a B.C. apple grower. It is the first genetically modified apple.
Carter, who owns a large apple and cherry orchard in B.C got the idea more than a decade ago when he saw sales surging for ready-to-eat snack foods, such as baby-cut carrots.
Modified ‘Arctic Apple’
“Apples just aren’t convenient enough,” says Carter. “You’ve got the core to throw out, and if they’re cut, after a few seconds they start to turn brown.”
After years of research, in which a Canadian biologist figured out a way to turn off the enzyme that makes apples turn brown, and then tests and approvals by U.S. and Canadian authorities last year, the Arctic Apple is about to take off.
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So far, only a handful of Modified ‘Arctic Apple’ trees are being grown in Canada, in a greenhouse in Summerland, B.C., where Carter owns his orchard. Thousands of the altered Golden Delicious and Granny Smith apple trees are being grown in Washington State and northern New York, but so far, mainly as test and demonstration crops.
But Carter says crop production will increase sharply, with 300,000 to 500,000 new trees planted each year. He also has an Arctic Fuji apple in the queue for government approvals, which he’ll follow with genetically modified Galas, McIntosh and Honeycrisps.
Carter says it will probably be 2019 before an Arctic Apple comes to Ottawa and then likely in the form of ready to eat slices.
But the U.S. Center for Food Safety argues that “masking” the browning could lead people to consume bad apples. Some have even taken to dubbing it “the Botox apple.”