By H. Sterling Burnett

The first genetically modified apples approved for retail sale by the U.S. Department of Agriculture hit store shelves in the Midwest in February.

The first genetically modified apples approved for retail sale by the U.S. Department of Agriculture hit store shelves in the Midwest in February.

“Arctic” apples, genetically modified to resist browning and spoilage, were sold in select stores across the Midwest to gauge public acceptance. The enzymes that cause apples to brown were switched off by the Canadian company Okanagan. Arctic apples are being sold in pre-sliced in clear pouches, to show off their resistance to browning.

The Capital Press reports the first test run was small, about 500 40-pound boxes split among 10 stores

At present, the USDA has approved three varieties: Arctic Golden Delicious, Arctic Granny Smith, and Arctic Fuji, but the company expects to add more Arctic varieties.

H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D. ([email protected]) is the managing editor of Environment & Climate News.

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