It sounds like magic: an apple that won't turn brown when cut or bruised. But the genetically-engineered fruit's special powers aren't enough to win over other apple growers, who say it's just unnatural. The Arctic Apple, from small Canadian firm Okanagan Specialty Fruits, could hurt consumers' perception of the simple, healthy, nature-made apple they've always known, growers say. The apple is currently under review by regulators in the US and Canada, with a 60-day public comment period due to open here today, the New York Times reports.
Okanagan says the Arctic Apple could revolutionize the industry, allowing for easier consumption of slices. At a meeting, "people wouldn’t take an apple" from a bowl, says Okanagan President Neal Carter. "But if you had a plate of apple slices, everyone would take" one. That could be a boon to growers, who have seen per capita consumption drop from 20 pounds a year in 1980 to 16 today. But what if it's "a rotten apple that looks fresh?" asks a genetic-engineering opponent. (Carter counters that rotten apples would still brown.) Some 60% of American apple fans say they'd be interested in the product—but when a Canadian survey underlined the genetic-engineering component, 70% opposed its approval. (Read more apple stories.)