The Arctic Fuji apple. (Courtesy Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc.)

The Arctic Fuji apple. (Courtesy Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc.)

Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc., based in Summerland, British Columbia, announced its newest genetically modified, nonbrowning Arctic apple variety, Arctic Fuji, completed the voluntary review process with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on April 26. Arctic Fuji is the third apple variety approved for OSF to grow, along with Arctic Golden and Arctic Granny apples, which both received regulatory approval in 2015.

“Completion of this FDA review is important news for our company as it marks the last step needed for Arctic Fuji to officially join our commercial orchards,” said Neal Carter, president of OSF, in a news release.

Arctic Fuji was approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service in September 2016 and by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Health Canada in January 2018.

According to the news release, the unique nonbrowning trait — achieved through biotechnology that turns off the enzyme responsible for browning — is a benefit to every sector of the supply chain and can significantly impact unnecessary food waste when considering apples that would normally be thrown out after turning brown from being bruised, sliced or bitten.

Arctic apples were commercially available for the first time in the fall of 2017 in select U.S. cities. Availability will continue to increase as more trees are planted and fruit volumes increase.

—by Jonelle Mejica