A big congratulations to Neal Carter and his team over at Okanagan Specialty Fruits today for the announcement that Arctic Apples have been approved by the USDA for commercial use!
I was lucky enough to speak with Neal about the apples last year at this time and I am so looking forward to one day (hopefully soon) being able to purchase the non-browning apples. Today we got one step closer to that happening. The Arctic Granny and the Arctic Golden varieties were both given deregulated status by the USDA!
For those that are not aware of the process, all genetically modified foods are considered “regulated” and cannot be commercially produced until they get “deregulated” status. As Neal explained in the interview, that process is long and extremely stringent. It may involve the USDA, EPA, and FDA. You can read USDA statement here and the risk assessment here.
So, when will we get to see the non-browning apples in our local grocery stores? It may take a while. According to Okanagan’s press release:
Consumers will have to wait a little longer, though, since apple trees take several years to produce significant quantities of fruit. “Our focus is working with growers to get trees in the ground. As more trees are planted and they come into commercial production, there will be a slow, but steady market introduction,” Carter explains, estimating Arctic apples will first be available in late 2016 in small, test-market quantities. And, just like any other new apple variety, it will take many years before nonbrowning Arctic fruit is widely distributed.
I’m sure it will be well worth the wait though!
Congratulations again to everyone over at Okanagan Specialty Fruits for this very welcome news!