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BC company seeks approval for 'non-browning' apple

An B.C. biotech company is seeking approval from the U.S. Department of Food and Agriculture for a genetically-modified, non-browning apple it has developed.

The apple, which is being marketed as an "Arctic" variety, was by Okanagan Specialty Fruits in Summerland. The company claims the apple does not turn brown when bruised or exposed to air.

Company president Neal Carter told The Tyee that they achieved this by "turning off" the protein that causes browning. Carter said they are seeking approval in the U.S. first because Canadian regulators require more detailed and in-depth data.

Carter said they are aware of consumer backlash against genetically-modified organisms, or GMOs in the food chain, but said their market research indicated they should "just do this." He said that their apple, unlike other GMO foods, does not include foreign genes.

According to the AP, this is the first time the USDA has been petitioned for a genetically-modified apple.

Colleen Kimmett reports for The Tyee.

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