By: Mike Irwin

SUMMERLAND, B.C. — A Fuji apple that resists turning brown could be on U.S. tables sometime this year, despite concerns over the genetically-engineered fruit by consumer and trade groups.

Okanagan Specialty Fruits (OSF) of Summerland, B.C., has petitioned the U.S. Department of Agriculture to deregulate sales of its Arctic Fuji, which is genetically modified to reduce browning after slicing. Summerland is in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, about 50 miles north of the Canadian border near Oroville.

Two other of the company’s non-browning varieties — the Arctic Golden and Arctic Granny — were approved last year by the USDA for commercial sale. Submitted Dec. 31, the new petition contains substantial data on non-browning apples that demonstrates the safety and healthfulness of the Arctic Fuji, said a company press release.

To inhibit browning, the company uses “gene silencing” to reduce the apple cells’ supply of the plant enzyme polyphenol oxidase (PPO), which contributes to turning apple flesh brown.

Originally Published: The Seattle Times