Health Canada has approved two varieties of Arctic apples, Arctic Granny Smith and Arctic Golden Delicious, for growth and sale in Canada.

The announcement was made on the Health Canada website five weeks after deregulation was granted in the United States by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The apples contain a gene that results in a reduction in the levels of enzymes that make apples turn brown when bitten, cut, or bruised. “In every other way, the Arctic apple tree and its fruit are identical to any other apple,” the Canadian agency said.

In 2011, Health Canada received a “submission” to allow the sale of the non-browning, genetically modified apple from Okanagan Specialty Fruits in Summerland, British Columbia. The agency conducted a health assessment based on Canadian Guidelines for Safety Assessment of Novel Foods.

It concluded that changes to the apples did not pose a greater risk to human health than apples currently available, that they had no impact on allergies, and that there was no difference in nutritional value.

Also announced on Friday, March 20, the FDA issued a statement saying the two varieties are safe for human consumption.

“Based on the safety and nutritional assessment OSF has conducted, it is our understanding that OSF has concluded that food and feed from GD743 and GS784 apples are not materially different in safety, nutrition, composition, or other relevant characteristics from food and feed from apples currently on the market, and that GD743 and GS784 apples do not raise issues that would require premarket review or approval by FDA.” – Dennis Keefe, FDA

Read the full response letter by the FDA to Okanagan Specialy Fruits. 

Read the Associated Press report on the FDA announcement.