FDA Deems GM Apples, Potatoes Safe

Genetically modified, non-browning apples and bruise-resistant potatoes are safe, the US Food and Drug Administration says.

By Tracy Vence | March 23, 2015

An Arctic Granny apple (right) resists browning after eight hours exposed to air, as compared with an unmodified variety (left).OKANAGAN SPECIALTY FRUITSThe US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has deemed genetically modified (GM), non-browning “Arctic” apples—approved last month by the Department of Agriculture—and bruise-resistant “Innate” potatoes “as safe and nutritious as their conventional counterparts,” according to The New York Times.

Okanagan Specialty Fruits, the British Columbia-based firm that produces the GM apples, and J.R. Simplot of Idaho, which grows the GM potatoes, both consulted with the FDA to assess the safety and nutrition of their foods.

“The consultation process includes a review of information provided by a company about the nature of the molecular changes and the nutritional composition of the food compared to traditionally bred varieties,” Dennis Keefe, director of the agency’s Office of Food Additive Safety, said in a statement. “This case-by-case safety evaluation ensures that food safety issues are resolved prior to commercial distribution.”

The agency also urged both companies to consult with the FDA about potential labeling requirements. Simplot told the Associated Press (AP) that it plans to deliver Innate potato seeds to growers, but according to the AP, “it could be years before the average customer is able to buy one of the potatoes.” It is not yet clear when the apples could reach market.

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