'Nonbrowning' Apples Are Making Their Way into Grocery Stores

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'Nonbrowning' Apples Are Making Their Way into Grocery Stores

Some Golden Delicious apples will now stay golden for weeks on end—even when sliced, bitten or bruised. Apples genetically modified to resist turning brown will be hitting select Midwestern stores as soon as February.

In its first commercial test marketing, these Arctic brand nonbrowning apples will be sold as “grab-and-go” pouch bags in 10 different stores in the Midwest area. While only 500 boxes of sliced apples are being disseminated in the first couple months, the company plans to offer 6,000 boxes of the GMO apples from the 2017 fall crop.

Canadian company Okanagan Specialty Fruits created nonbrowning Golden Delicious apples by reducing the enzyme polyphenol oxidase, a chemical process that causes brown pigments in fruits. The apples are prevented from turning brown for three weeks after slicing, even without the help of any flavor-enhancing chemicals commonly used by apple producers.

The U.S. Agriculture Department gave Arctic Golden and Arctic Granny Smith apples the OK nearly two years ago. The company is planning on developing even more browning-resistant apple varieties in the future.

While there is nothing wrong with eating a brown apple, Arctic apples’ company goal is to make apples more convenient, more appealing and thus less likely to be wasted.

Though some Americans are on the fence about genetically-modified foods, Arctic Apples founder and president Neal Carter has high hopes for his apples. Carter told Capital Press he is “very optimistic with respect to this product because people love it at trade shows. It’s a great product and the eating quality is excellent.”

Photo: congerdesign, CC-BY

Jane Snyder is a health intern with Paste and a freelance writer and photojournalist based out of Athens, Georgia.