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APRIL 2018 • COUNTRY LIFE IN BC


39


US consumers buy up non-browning apples Arctic apples are expected to be available to Canadian consumers in 2019


by RONDA PAYNE SUMMERLAND – Arctic Fuji, the


third Arctic-brand apple developed by Okanagan Specialty Fruit Inc. (OSF), received Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Health Canada approval in January but don’t expect to see the apples in Canada before 2019. The new, genetically modified


(GMO) fruits were first offered to US consumers last fall, after a pilot project which took place in 10 stores in the US Midwest in spring 2017 garnered high customer satisfaction. Arctic Golden apples were the first variety sold. “We are excited that we could


finally give customers an opportunity to try our non- browning Arctic Golden apple slices, but our supply of fresh fruit is now exhausted,” says OSF president Neal Carter. Carter doesn’t expect there to be enough apples available to allow imports into Canada until fall 2019. The apples are currently grown at an orchard in Washington State. BC apple growers like Doug Nield, a member of


how they were made. Carter says he isn’t aware of the concerns of Nield or any other growers. “We haven’t heard from any


other growers, specifically,” he says. “But we can tell you that the overall response about our Arctic Fuji variety receiving Canadian approval has been met with excitement.” The excitement is minimal


from those like Nield. “I don’t like them,” he says. “My


group of friends, they won’t buy it. Consumers don’t want them. Consumers don’t want GMO.” Given the efforts BC growers


Neal Carter in an orchard of Arctic non-browning apples. OKANAGAN SPECIALITY FRUITS INC. PHOTO


says. “I don’t know what the modification will do to an orchard next to it that isn’t [modified].” Arctic apples were provided to undisclosed


the BC Fruit Growers’ Association, don’t share Carter’s enthusiasm. Nield has an orchard across from one of Carter’s in Summerland. “He rents an orchard right across from me and I thought he might plant [Arctic Apples] there,” Nield


retailers in the Midwest and Southeast US. OSF let the retailers decide which locations would carry the apples. Sold in a grab-n-go bag bearing the Arctic Apple name and logo, the packaging didn’t specify how the apples were created but it did invite customers to visit [www.arcticapples.com] and learn


have made to reduce chemical use through programs such as the Sterile Insect Release initiative, Nield sees genetically engineered apples such as the Arctic apples as a step backwards. “I don’t think we need a


negative and I see GMO as a negative,” he says. “I can’t say for


sure whether it is or not. An apple, when I can see that it’s rotted, I like that. I know it’s time to throw that out.” OSF recently promoted Jenn Armen to vice-


president to assist in the company’s growth. Armen has been with OSF since 2010.


OSF is based in Summerland but is a wholly


owned subsidiary of Virginia-based biotech firm Intrexon Corp.


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