GMOs are Upsetting the Apple Cart ~ Arctic apples USDA Approved GMO Apples!

GMOs are Upsetting the Apple Cart  ~ GM Apples 

  • GMO Arctic apples may be red, yellow, or green depending on the variety. Identify these apples by the ‘SNOWFLAKE’ logo and the Arctic name on their stickers.
  • Opal apples are bright yellow with occasional faint hints of red or green. Look for the Opal name on the sticker. Non-GMO Project Verified tags have not yet been introduced by Broetje Orchards.

The USDA  (NOT TO BE TRUSTED!) gave the green light to GM Arctic apples in 2015. Developed by Okanagan Specialty Fruits, non-browning Arctic apples have had their original polyphenol oxidase (PPO) enzyme genes removed and replaced by genes that produce trace amounts of PPO. The genetic modification means that when an Arctic apple is bitten, bruised or sliced, there will be no enzymatic browning to the flesh for at least a week or even two, depending on the environment ~ https://livingnongmo.org/2016/10/12/gmos-are-upsetting-the-apple-cart/

An American tradition ~ Chilly October mornings and the smell of autumn leaves accompany the thumps of falling apples across North America. Apple cider, crisp, pie, butter, baked, bobbing, and of course eating fresh off the tree all make this my favorite fruit season of the year. 

The apple has a long romantic history in both my life and across America; unfortunately, a new chapter in our relationship with this fruit has just been grafted into the story. I grew up near an antique apple orchard in Northern Michigan (in fact, the photo above was taken by my sister who still lives near that same orchard!). Centuries-old varieties of fruit trees have been preserved on this farm to the delight of the surrounding communities.

~Apples for the Masses ~

As our new chapter in apple history gets underway, here are some shopping tips to help us navigate the produce section:

  • GMO Arctic apples may be red, yellow, or green depending on the variety. Identify these apples by the snowflake logo and the Arctic name on their stickers.
  • Opal apples are bright yellow with occasional faint hints of red or green. Look for the Opal name on the sticker. Non-GMO Project Verified tags have not yet been introduced by Broetje Orchards.

When buying apple products or eating apples at restaurants:

  • Look for the Butterfly! Always check for the Non-GMO Project Verified seal on packaged foods that contain apples.
  • Most processed foods that include more than 5% Arctic apples will feature the snowflake logo and name on their packaging.
  • Ask before you order. When eating out at restaurants, check the menus for apple ingredients and ask the staff about their fresh apples or apple products.

To ensure customers know that this unique trait was derived from natural breeding, in 2014 Broetje Orchards went through the process to verify the variety as a non-genetically modified organism (non-GMO). The Opal apple has since earned the Non-GMO Project Verified seal. During this time, news began to surface that genetically modified (GM) non-browning apples were being tested in orchards and nearing government approval.

The Golden Delicious and Topaz apple varieties were ‘naturally crossed’ together by a team of Europeans in 1999 ~ The result was coined the Opal apple and debuted in the United States in 2010 by Broetje Orchards.

The USDA  (NOT TO BE TRUSTED!) gave the green light to GM Arctic apples in 2015. Developed by Okanagan Specialty Fruits, non-browning Arctic apples have had their original polyphenol oxidase (PPO) enzyme genes removed and replaced by genes that produce trace amounts of PPO. The genetic modification means that when an Arctic apple is bitten, bruised or sliced, there will be no enzymatic browning to the flesh for at least a week or even two, depending on the environment. Consumers will now be able to eat sliced apples that appear healthy and fresh for many days after the fruit normally would have begun to brown.

The first varieties to arrive in grocery stores will be the Arctic Granny, the Arctic Golden, and the Arctic Fuji. Arctic Galas and other fruit are currently in development ~ 

Kitchens and restaurants serve fresh apples in hundreds of savory and sweet dishes. For almost all apples, exposing the delicate flesh to air oxidizes certain cell enzymes, which will rapidly turn the fruit brown. From fruit salads to school lunches, fast food sides to fancy decorative garnishes, dish upon dish has been affected by the apple’s browning nature.

Much of the developed world has grown accustomed to eating only picture-perfect produce. I have worked with several food retailers where we would use lemon juice to extend a little life out of sliced apples. 

All too often I saw perfectly tasty, slightly brown or bruised fruit get tossed into the compost or trash. Several recently developed varieties of apples are out to change this scene.

Down with the brown

The Golden Delicious and Topaz apple varieties were ‘naturally crossed’ together by a team of Europeans in 1999. 

The result was coined the Opal apple and debuted in the United States in 2010 by Broetje Orchards. Two years later I tasted my first Opal in Bozeman, Montana. I was working a sampling table for the Community Food Co-op where I served up apple pieces dipped in caramel. 

The scrumptious slices flew off my table; it wasn’t until after my six-hour shift that I noticed how brilliantly white the remaining apple cores were in my compost bucket.

Since the Opal first hit the American market, the fruit has quickly become a new favorite. I heard from countless customers about how they appreciate both the flavor and the apple’s ability to naturally resist browning for several days. 

As the orchards are still maturing, we will see a gradual increase of the Arctic varieties landing on consumers’ plates in the coming years.

An apple a day, and how to keep the GMOs away

As our new chapter in apple history gets underway, here are some shopping tips to help us navigate the produce section:

  • Arctic apples may be red, yellow, or green depending on the variety. Identify these apples by the snowflake logo and the Arctic name on their stickers.
  • Opal apples are bright yellow with occasional faint hints of red or green. Look for the Opal name on the sticker. Non-GMO Project Verified tags have not yet been introduced by Broetje Orchards.

When buying apple products or eating apples at restaurants:

  • Look for the Butterfly!  Always check for the Non-GMO Project Verified seal on packaged foods that contain apples.
  • Most processed foods that include more than 5% Arctic apples will feature the snowflake logo and name on their packaging.
  • Ask before you order. When eating out at restaurants, check the menus for apple ingredients and ask the staff about their fresh apples or apple products.

Bringing home a non-browning apple can lead to exciting new possibilities in cooking meals or preparing snacks. Let’s continue our American apple tradition and help our communities to clearly understand their fruit choices.

AUTHOR INFO

Megan Westgate

Executive Director

After years of passionate food advocacy, Megan helped launch the Non-GMO Project in 2006. She became Executive Director in 2007 and has been hard at work to protect the future of non-GMO food ever since. As a national thought leader on the non-GMO issue, Megan is a highly respected speaker and has been featured in numerous national… » Read more

Courtney Pineau

Associate Director

In her role as Associate Director, Courtney helps guide the growth of the Non-GMO Project. She is committed to expanding awareness about GMOs, helping consumers make informed food choices, and protecting access to healthy and safe foods. In her spare time, you will find Courtney gardening and playing outside with her family in Bellingham, Washington. You might… » Read more

Dedrian Clark

Guest Contributor

Dedrian enjoys creating art, organic gardening, growing culinary and medicinal herbs, natural healing methods and in general, maintaining a close connection to nature. In her tenure at the Non-GMO Project, Dede employed stellar client services support and assisted with the administration of the Non-GMO Project Standard. You might also like…

Vani Hari

Recipe Contributor

Vani is a management consultant, food activist writer and speaker. She started FoodBabe.com in April 2011 to spread information about what is really in the American food supply. She teaches people how to make the right purchasing decisions at the grocery store, how to live an organic lifestyle, and how to travel healthfully around the… » Read more

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