PhotoLike it or not, genetically modified apples and potatoes may soon be on their way to your produce section.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last week formally approved a non-browning apple produced by Okanagan Specialty Fruits of Canada and the Innate potato, a creation of the J.R. Simplot Co., an Idaho french fry maker.

It's the last hurdle facing both products. The U.S. Department of Agriculture had approved the new GMO Arctic Apple just last month and the company was recently purchased by Intrexon, which is in the GMO salmon business.

Safe and nutritious

The FDA said both products "are as safe and nutritious as their conventional counterparts.” They will not have to be labeled because the FDA does not currently require GMO labeling, although Vermont does and some other states and cities may follow suit, even though most scientists agree that genetic modification does not present a major health risk.

Other produce, chiefly corn and soybeans, are already genetically modified to resist pests. The Artic Apples and Simplot potatoes, on the other hand, have characteristics that are aimed primarily at consumers. The apple resists browning and the potatoes are said to be tastier and to produce less waste. 

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