Culture

New Genetically Modified Apple Slices Will NEVER Turn Brown

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The Arctic Apple is a genetically engineered apple from the food scientists at Okanagan Specialty Fruits. The company has manipulated the fruit’s genes so that a sliced apple will never turn an unappetizing brown color. Sorry if genetically modified food innovations give you the heebie-jeebies, but pre-sliced Arctic Apples will be available in produce sections throughout America starting this November.

There are many benefits that come with developing an apple that doesn’t turn brown after you slice it. Arctic Apples don’t need additional acidic anti-browning preservatives to keep them looking tasty for long periods of time, far fewer apples will be wasted because bumps and bruises won’t ruin the cosmetic appearance of the fruit, and it is likely that these apples will become cheaper to buy, since producers and retailers won’t have to toss out nearly as many perfectly good apples due to a little browning that naturally comes with traveling from the tree to the grocery store.

Although we’ve been eating all kinds of genetically modified foods for years, it is still a tough concept to swallow for some people. The company website details how they’ve altered the genes of your favorite apples to create Arctic Apples: “We used the apple’s own genes to ‘switch off’ its browning genes,” the company wrote. “Typically, apples brown when bruised, bitten, or sliced because of an enzyme called polyphenol oxidase (PPO). In Arctic apples the PPO levels are too low to cause browning, but have the same nutrition, taste, and everything else apple eaters love about their conventional counterparts.”

Pre-sliced Golden Delicious Arctic Apples will appear on store shelves this November, and Granny Smith Arctic Apples are slated to follow in 2018. Packages that contain Arctic Apple slices are easily identified by their snowflake logo and a QR code that buyers can scan to learn more about the genetically modified apples and how they came to be. Non-browning apples are only the beginning for Okanagan Specialty Fruits, and they are looking into ways to apply what they’ve learned to develop other tree fruits that share the same non-browning traits of Arctic Apples.