U.S. to deregulate Arctic® apples!

Okanagan Specialty Fruits is thrilled to share big news – the first nonbrowning Arctic® apple varieties are about to be deregulated in the United States!

This milestone is nearly two decades in the making, as Arctic® Golden and Arctic® Granny apples represent OSF’s first products since our inception in 1996. We could not have achieved this without our small-but-mighty, grower-led team and all our supporters in the agriculture and biotech industries. And, of course, all the consumers who told us they can’t wait for nonbrowning apples!Arctic Granny graphic

Earlier today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Services (APHIS) announced its decision to deregulate the first two Arctic varieties, and it is expected their final environmental assessment (EA) and plant pest risk assessment (PPRA) will be published soon.

For our fellow growers, this means that Arctic trees can now be purchased and grown just like any other apple trees (so let us know if you’re interested in planting!). For consumers, it means that we will be working hard to get as many trees in the ground as possible so that you’ll be able to purchase Arctic apples in stores within the next few years.

Since it takes apple trees a number of years to produce significant amounts of fruit, it will likely be 2016 before any Arctic Granny or Arctic Golden apples are available for small, test-markets. Following that, we expect increasing amounts of fruit each year, including additional nonbrowning varieties like Arctic® Gala and Arctic® Fuji.

We’re very excited for everyone who touches apples to experience the benefits of nonbrowning apples, and encourage you to read about the significant value they offer to growers, packers, freshcut and traditional processors, foodservice, retailers, and most of all, consumers.

The supply-chain can feel confident knowing that Arctic apples are likely the most tested apples in existence. Rigorously reviewed by multiple regulatory bodies, all evaluations reach the same conclusion – Arctic apples present no unique risks and are just as safe and healthful as any other apple.

Thanks again for your continued support of Arctic apples, biotechnology, the apple industry and our goal of helping people to eat more apples. We hope you will be enjoying the benefits of nonbrowning apples very soon!

About Neal

You may know Neal as President and Founder of Okanagan Specialty Fruits, but he is also a bioresource engineer with over thirty years of experience working around the world. It was through this firsthand experience that Neal was convinced that biotechnology can help farmers meet ever-expanding global food demand.

Comments

  1. Mike Cey

    Congratulations. Neal and the rest of the OSF crew, you have demonstrated advancement via transformation technologies need not be the sole domain of MNE’S alone, but with good science and perseverance even the small focussed enteriprise can suceed. Good show!

  2. Robert Wager

    Wonderful news Neal.  Everyone at ArcticApple should be very proud of their work to make this happen.  Concratulations to everyone

     

    Rob

    • Joel

      Hi Pete,

      Thanks sharing your congratulations!

      While Arctic apples’ nonbrowning trait may seem superfluous at a glance, there are actually many significant issues that this benefit can address.

      For instance, while around 50% of consumers’ food dollars are spent in the foodservice arena, apples are hardly represented there. Very few freshcut apples are available on fruit plates, in salads, in cafeterias, airplanes, etc. primarily due to the browning issue. Anti-browning treatments are costly and often add an off-taste, but these are not needed with Arctic apples, so they can get apples in more places.

      Consumers have also suggested apples are the #1 produce items they’d like to see more packaged versions of (e.g., bagged apple slices). The simple convenience of baby carrots doubled carrot consumption, and we want to due the same with apples!

      Additionally, apples are among the most wasted foods on the planet, with around 40% of what’s produced never ending up consumed. That’s largely due to waste because of superficial bruising/browning – if a consumer is at a store and sees 30 apples, they rarely choose the ones that have even the slightest imperfection. This would not be an issue with Arctic apples!

      • Anonymous

        Baby carrots are deformed large carrots refined into smaller, uniform shapes and soaked in chlorine to retain ther classic bright orange color. I’m sure America’s struggle with cutting their own apple, eating whole apples and consuming pre-cut apples soaked in citric acid (Vitamin C) is enough to warrant this amazing new lab creation with no testing for the long term health effects. How about we do what Europe is doing and making people get over the fact that nature is not perfect and not every individual fruit or vegetable is going to look like the picture plastic arranged the weekly circular’s professional photographer… Just because it turned brown doesn’t make it inedible say the freegans digging through your trash for things unnecessarily thrown away… 

        • Joel

          It sounds like you are against baby carrots, and yet they doubled carrot consumption and with obesity rates remaining sky-high, that’s got to be considered a positive. It’s no simple task to change the mindset of the entire population to eat healthier or waste less, though they are certainly noble goals. Even in Europe, around 40% of apples produced never end up getting consumed, and that’s largely due to superficial browning/bruising. The main point we’d make here is that, if boosting the convenience and “snackability” of fruits and veggies can lead to higher consumption and reduce waste, it’s something that should be embraced.

          As for the “no testing” comment, nearly two decades of development, testing and rigorous regulatory review of Arctic apples likely make them the most tested apple on the planet. And, all the evidence demonstrates they have the same nutrition and zero novel proteins. If you have any specific questions or concerns, though, please don’t hesitate to send us an email and we’d be happy to respond!

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