USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is seeking public's input on Arctic Golden and Arctic Granny apples, two nonbrowning varieties produced through biotechnology by Okanagan Specialty Fruits, based in British Columbia, Canada. Arctic apples are among the first biotechnology plants/plant foods to undergo a recently-enhanced APHIS review process.
OSF seeks nonregulated status of genetically engineered events designated as GD743 and GS784. The 60-day comment period closes on September 11.
"We are delighted to reach this important milestone in the U.S., and to be one of the first to participate in the expanded APHIS review processes," says OSF founder and President Neal Carter, who grows apples and cherries. "We're confident these public comment opportunities will reassure consumers and producers alike that Arctic apples address browning in an innocuous way, so that we can move on to the work of getting more people eating more apples."
Under the new rules, a second comment period is expected to open about six months after the first comment period closes. If no substantive issues have been raised, the public will have 30 days to review APHIS' assessments of Arctic apples' pest risk assessment, environmental assessment and a preliminary Finding of No Significant Impact assessment. If no further substantive issues are raised the FONSI decision is published as final.