|USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has publicly shared the final version of Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc.’s (OSF) petition seeking regulatory approval for ‘Arctic Fuji’ apples, a nonbrowning variety produced through biotechnology.
In an announcement published Aug. 10, USDA APHIS stated that they have reached a preliminary decision to extend their determination of nonregulated status to OSF’s nonbrowning ‘Arctic Fuji’ variety.
In addition to publishing OSF’s petition, APHIS has also shared their Preliminary Finding of No Significant Impact, and Preliminary Extended Determination and Plant Pest Risk Assessment. USDA APHIS will initiate a public comment period in the coming days, during which time the public is encouraged to submit their input on the genetically modified ‘Arctic Fuji’ apples for APHIS’ review.
“We are pleased to see the ‘Arctic Fuji’ reach the next stage of deregulation.” said OSF founder and President Neal Carter. “Interest in our first two distinctly nonbrowning varieties, ‘Arctic Golden’ and ‘Arctic Granny,’ following their approval in 2015 has shown us that the benefits of the Arctic Advantage™ are of great interest to the industry and consumers alike. We are confident we will see a similar response to ‘Arctic Fuji,’ and many more nonbrowning varieties still to come.”
OSF’s petition contains data on the introduction and testing of the nonbrowning trait in ‘Fuji’ variety apples but differs from the petition submitted for OSF’s initial varieties, ‘Arctic Granny’ and ‘Arctic Golden,’ because it is considered an extension. The nonbrowning trait in OSF’s ‘Arctic Fuji’ variety is no longer considered unique in apples, as APHIS has previously evaluated potential impacts of this trait and how it is introduced, concluding that these varieties are just as safe for consumers and the environment as conventional apples.