Researchers have genetically modified two kinds of apples to resist browning, and the USDA just gave the produce a green light. Reuters reports:
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) approved two genetically engineered apple varieties designed to resist browning that have been developed by the Canadian company Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc.Okanagan plans to market the apples as Arctic Granny and Arctic Golden, and says the apples are identical to their conventional counterparts except the flesh of the fruit will retain a fresh appearance even after it is sliced or bruised.
The USDA was able to determine that these new varieties will not pose a risk to humans or other plants, paving the way for their eventual roll-out in American grocery stores. The apples will be marketed with an “Arctic” moniker, and will be gradually introduced to test markets starting next year.Greens won’t be happy to hear the news, though it’s hard to understand why. No one likes looking at browned apple slices, and the genetic modifications made to these apples prevent that; moreover, they’re safe. Study after study has shown genetically modified organisms to be safe for human consumption, but a dogmatic resistance to the “unnatural” qualities of these products has environmentalists blind to their potential benefits.These new apples will sell because they’re more convenient, but there are many more genetic modifications that increase yields and produce hardier crops in more extreme weather—exactly the kinds of conditions we’ve been told climate change will bring. GMOs are a smart, safe solution to the problem of world hunger, and apparently now an answer to brown apples.We live in interesting times.