GM apples that resist browning approved by US govt

Reuters / Andrew Burton
GMO apples that resist browning have been approved as safe to eat, according to the US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), rebuffing efforts by the anti-GMO lobby to reject the fruit.

The apples were developed by the Canadian biotech firm Oksangan Specialty Fruits Inc.

The apples are unlikely to pose a plant pest risk to agriculture or to have a significant impact on the human environment the US Department of Agriculture said on its website Friday.

"It is the biggest milestone yet for us, and we can't wait until they're available for consumers," Okanagan president Neal Carter said in a statement.

Because of concerns from consumers worried about GMO foods only genes from fruit trees were used in the apples’ development.

READ MORE: ‘GM is safe, green groups are not being honest’ – ex-EU scientist

The approved apples will probably be grafted to existing apple trees and produce non-browning fruit in three to five years.

Many other GM crops like corn and soya have been spliced together with genetic material from other organisms and bacteria.

But the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) said the genetic changes to the apples may present a danger to human health and because apples are sprayed with many different pesticides, the genetic modifications will only mean more treatment with pesticides.

The director of the OCS, Ronnie Cummins, said they will be putting pressure on food companies and shops not to sell the apples.

The fruits will be marketed as Arctic Granny and Arctic Golden.