Press Release: USDA APHIS – Second Arctic® apple comment opportunity

Summerland, B.C., Canada – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has posted their Environmental Assessment (EA) and Plant Pest Risk Assessment (PPRA) for Arctic® Golden and Arctic® Granny apples, two nonbrowning varieties that have been produced through biotechnology by Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc. (OSF). The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is now seeking public comments on these two documents, which can be viewed in full on APHIS’ website.

During this 30-day public comment period, citizens are encouraged to submit to USDA APHIS their input on this regulatory assessment of these two Arctic® apple varieties. This is the second of two U.S. comment periods on these nonbrowning apples, the first of which was 60-days in length. OSF’s Arctic® apples are among the first ag-biotech products to undergo this recently enhanced regulatory process, which did not previously include a second opportunity to comment.

The first comment period began when APHIS made OSF’s Petition for Determination of Nonregulated Status publically available July 13, 2012 in the Federal Register, and successfully concluded September 11, 2012. Comments on the EA and PPRA will be accepted for 30 days until December 9, 2013.

It is expected that Arctic® apples will be granted U.S. deregulation early in 2014, which means Arctic® apple varieties can then be grown just like any other apple tree. This will allow OSF and its grower partners to begin the process of growing fruit for consumers. OSF president and founder Neal Carter, an orchardist in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, discusses the importance of achieving this milestone in the regulatory process, “We’re now closer than ever to bringing consumers and producers safe, value-added Arctic® apples, providing greater convenience and reducing food waste.” Ten years of real-world field trial experience has shown that Arctic® trees and fruit are just like other apple varieties consumers have come to know and love, until the fruit is bruised, bitten or cut.

“This is especially rewarding for our small company because of the long, challenging road toward deregulation. We have had Arctic® apples planted in field trials for over a decade now,” explains Carter. “The regulatory process is extremely rigorous so consumers can feel secure knowing that Arctic® apples are among the most tested fruits in existence.” OSF is currently seeking U.S. partners to collaborate on the commercial development of Arctic® apples.

 

Editors: 

  • For more information about the enhanced APHIS review process, please contact APHIS Public Affairs Specialist André Bell at [email protected], telephone 301-851-4059. 
  • For Arctic® apple photos and other resources, visit www.arcticapples.com/media.
  • For more information contact OSF Marketing Communications Specialist Joel Brooks at 509-560-4518 or [email protected]
About Okanagan Specialty Fruits

Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc. is a dynamic biotechnology company dedicated to developing new commercial tree fruit varieties that are attractive to consumers, and are more profitable for producers and retailers. OSF is operated and largely owned by tree fruit growers based in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley. For consumer information, visit www.arcticapples.com; for information about the company and partnership opportunities, visit www.okspecialtyfruits.com

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