Genetically Engineered Apples, Potatoes OK'd by the FDA

Innate potato (left) next to conventional potato (right) 30 minutes after peeling
Innate potato (left) next to conventional potato (right) 30 minutes after peeling

After completing its evaluation, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) concluded that two varieties of apples and six varieties of potatoes, all of which were genetically engineered, are as safe and nutritious as their conventional counterparts. Foods derived from genetically engineered plants must meet the same legal standards, including safety standards, as foods derived from traditional plant breeding methods.

The apples, known collectively as "Arctic Apples" are genetically engineered to resist browning associated with cuts and bruises by reducing levels of enzymes that can cause browning. Okanagan Specialty Fruits. Inc produces two varieties, Granny Smith and Golden Delicious.

The potatoes, known collectively by the trade name "Innate" are genetically engineered to reduce the formation of black spot bruises by lowering the levels of certain enzymes. In addition, they are engineered to produce less acrylamide, a potentially carcinogenic chemical that can form in some foods during high-temperature cooking, such as frying. Simplot, the producer of Innate potatoes, uses biotechnology techniques to accelerate the traditional breeding process and introduces new traits by triggering the potato's own RNA interference pathway. 

The FDA has no additional food safety questions at this time concerning food from these plant varieties. In certain circumstances, characteristics of these varieties of apples and potatoes that differ from their conventional counterparts may require disclosure to the consumer.

For more information visit FDA.gov.