Of Halloween and Frankenfood

Halloween is right around the corner and with it comes the annual opportunity to scare ourselves silly for the sheer fun of it. Fright houses, ghoulish costumes, horror movie marathons – those fear-inspired shots of adrenaline, and the laughs of relief that follow them, are indeed addictive stuff. 

Alas, in recent years one of our favorite icons of Halloween, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, has been co-opted to frighten consumers about biotechnology-enhanced foods. While the mental picture the term draws is effective theater, we encourage you to look further and learn the facts for yourself.

Arctic® apples are no Frankenfood. We simply employ biotechnology to address apples’ browning problem. Here are just a few of the reasons why we are so confident about the benefits and safety of Arctic apples: Arctic Jack-o-lantern

  • Our founder knows apples, because he grows them himself.
  • Browning is a real apple problem – both for consumers and producers. For consumers, browning keeps us from eating more apples.
  • Arctic apple trees and fruits, tested in the field since 2003, look and act just like other apples. They grow, blossom, fruit and react to pests and other orchard conditions just as conventional trees do.
  • Arctic apples have comparable composition and nutritional profiles to conventional apples. Their difference is evident only when Arctic apples are bruised, bitten or cut – then they don’t brown.
  • Arctic apples don’t undergo enzymatic browning (oxidation) but they do experience secondary browning (rotting) just like any other apple. So, it actually makes it easier to tell if you really do have a bad apple!
  • Our science team, among the best credentialed in the world, simply silenced the apples’ browning genes to create the nonbrowning Arctic apple, so there are no new proteins present.
  • Arctic apples will be labeled at point of sale, so that you can easily identify them.

Our Arctic apples website is specifically designed for transparency – no Halloween masks for us – to answer any and all questions you may have about Arctic apples. If you have a question that we haven’t addressed, please let us know.

P.S.  For your Halloween celebrations, here’s a great list of caramel apple recipes that we hope you enjoy!

About Joel Brooks

Growing up in the Okanagan, Joel had the opportunity to experience apple growing first hand, a background that lead him to his role as Product & Special Projects Manager. Joel feels privileged to work with such great people towards a goal that’s so easy to get behind – helping people to eat more apples.


  1. Anonymous

    Thank you for your offer of transparency concerning GMO Arctic variety apples. As a scientist , I will remind you that we don’t yet know the long-term effects of GMOs, partly because most GMO products are not labeled where the consumer can see that they are consuming GMO food. Your Arctic apples will be clearly labeled as “GMO”? not just as “arctic apples”? As a beekeeper I will remind you that bees can travel up to 10 miles from their hive in search of nector and pollen.  Are you tracking all the bees and other pollinators to prevent contamination

  2. jackie

    I totaly agree that a database would be a suffience trade off to labeling but as a consumer how am i to know what product is being used when it is only being labled as soya, corn, salmon etc. Big business is not going to list the specific type of food used it could impact on the secret of their flavors. I do thank you about being transparent on the labeling maybe an extra effort would be to list both the name and the fact that it is gmo on a lable along with the web address, that way all parties are happy. My concern would be the long term enviromental and health effects that might arrise by changing the dna of the plant. As with the other gmo crops does this one accept cross pollination or does it just cause it on other apple trees? What do the other apples turn out like after the cross pollination?

  3. Mollie

    What if the part of the apple that was supressed was designed to help protect it from pests? Numerous studies show that the recent increase in pesticides is directly linked to the recent increase in numerous diseases and disorders-Alzheimer’s, asthma, birth and fetal defects, cancer, ADHD, autism, Parkinson’s, diabetes, as well as reproductive health effects. The apple itself may or may not be harmful, but the pesticides used on them are most certainly damaging to the entire planet’s health and wellbeing.

    Thank you for not adding genes from something non-apple to your apple. As we have already seen, not much success is coming from that part of the field unless the goal is famine.

    • Joel

      Hi Mollie,

      Thanks for your question! While polyphenol oxidase (PPO), the enzyme we silence in Arctic apples, has been linked to plant defense of some crops, such as tomatoes, its lower levels in Arctic apples has not led to any increase in susceptibility to pests or diseases.

      This was one of the many areas that were rigorously studied in field trials for many years before we received approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) earlier this month. In fact, the USDA concluded in their 76 page Environmental Assessment on Arctic apples that the evidence demonstrates that Arctic apples can be grown using the exact same agronomic inputs (amount of water needed, pest protection methods, etc.) as their conventional counterparts.

      Additionally, there is a great deal of misinformation about pesticides out there, especially when it comes to apples. The average adult could consume well over 500 apples a day, and those apples could have the highest pesticide residue recorded by the USDA and it would still have zero effect! We actually wrote a post on that very topic that you may be interested in checking out: “A rational discussion of apples and pesticides”

  4. Dan

    Hi Joel, I appreciate your logic on labeling your apples as “Arctic” rather than the much more general “GMO”. But, to be faithful to your stated goal of being truly transparent why not have the label read “Arctic GMO”?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *