The Food and Drug Administration says that potatoes and apples that have been genetically engineered so that they don’t turn brown are safe. The FDA evaluated the nutritional value and safety of two different varieties of the genetically engineered apples, which were produced by the company Okanagan Specialty Fruits Incorporated. The FDA also gave the okay for six different varieties of potatoes that have been genetically engineered from the company J.R. Simplot. The FDA believes these apples and potatoes pose no harm or risk to the public, and say they are no different than the regular potatoes and apples that are already being produced.
The only difference between these potatoes and apples and regular ones is that scientists were able to lower the enzymes found in the products. When it came to the apples, the scientists referred to this process as engineering “Arctic Apples” since the modification got rid of all the brown spots from the apples. If you hear the term “Innate” potatoes, these are the genetically engineered potatoes that will also not have brown spots or black bruising spots on them. The Innate variety of potatoes are also supposed to contain less carcinogenic materials than what might be found out in the fields, so this is a good thing if you are worried about cancer.
It is believed that the apples will be put out as Arctic Golden and Arctic Granny and the potatoes will be under Innate, but both companies are going to be selling the seeds to farms. This means that it will be up to the farms and the retail stores to label the variety as being Arctic apples or Innate potatoes. If the retail stores and growers do not mention this, then there will be no way for the public to know they were genetically engineered. The FDA did urge the two companies to come up with some proper labeling, which can help the stores and the growers alert customers.
Dennis Keefe, director of the FDA’s Office of Food Additive Safety released a statement, which in part said “The consultation process includes a review of information provided by a company about the nature of the molecular changes and the nutritional composition of the food compared to traditionally bred varieties.”
Typically, you won’t see the FDA come out and make a statement after giving an approval of a certain product, but the genetically engineered or modified foods have been under the hot seat lately, with people anxious over whether or not it’s safe to eat. The FDA will be reviewing the information submitted by companies on a case-by-case basis, which means the FDA is not going to give a generalized okay for genetically engineered products. This is considered a good thing because if the FDA can look at each company individually, it can help ease the questions surrounding genetically engineered fruits and vegetables, and it can also ensure companies are putting out safe products before it hits the public.