Non-Browning GMO Arctic Apples to Hit Store Shelves Soon
An enzyme in the apples is suppressed, but is necessary to fight pests
GMO Arctic Apples will hit store shelves next month. Produced by Okanagan Specialty Fruits, the apples were approved by USDA in 2015, and the first harvest was collected last fall. The fruit, which is genetically engineered to brown more slowly than traditional apples, will be sold pre-sliced in “grab-and-go” pouches. 
In Arctic Apples, the enzyme polyphenol oxidase (PPO) – the substance which causes apples to turn brown – has been shut down. In regular apples, slicing or bruising the fruit causes PPO to react with chemicals in the fruit (polyphenolics), giving it the browning effect we’re so accustomed to. PPO is found in a number of plants, and serves as an evolutionary defense against herbivorous insects, so it will likely be sprayed heavily with pesticides.
The altered apples can take up to 3 weeks to turn brown, which Okanagan Specialty Fruits says allows the company to sell them at a cheaper price than traditional pre-sliced apples, as 35% of the cost of the regular variety goes to applying a flavor-altering, antioxidant treatment.
Okanagan’s website boasts:
“[T]he simple convenience of being able to slice apples without worrying about browning can lead to more getting eaten, and fewer getting trashed.” 
The GMO apples are also supposedly crisper and more packed with antioxidants than non-GMO apples.
To start, 500, 40-pound boxes of the Arctic Apples will be shipped to 10 unnamed retailers in the Midwest, Okanagan said. If you pick up one of the pouches, you won’t see an overt GMO label. You’ll have to scan the QR code on the packaging to find out that information. 
The company currently manages 85,000 apple trees in Washington state, but Okanagan plans to expand to 300,000 trees this spring, with a half-million trees going into the ground in 2018. The fall 2017 crop is expected to produce 6,000 more boxes of Arctic Apples for the Midwest region.
Okanagan’s founder and president Neal Carter said:
“We are selling it under the Arctic brand and we’ve had a lot of press and attention, so I assume most people will know what it is.”
Okanagan’s founder and president Neal Carte said that in the future, the Arctic Apple brand will include Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, and Fuju varieties. 
Last February, Canadian fruit growers asked the B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association to de-register Arctic Apples until further studies could be conducted.
Gerber and fast-food giants McDonald’s and Wendy’s have said they will not sell the GMO apples.
 The Verge
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