One of my favorite snacks is slicings of Granny Smith apple and some sharp cheddar cheese. But as much as I like ’em, as soon as the apple slices turn brown, I just … eh … I know they’re still good, but to be honest, I kind of lose interest.
This month, however, bags of Arctic apple slice are going to be reaching a couple hundred stores in the Midwestern United States. And, thanks to genetic engineering, these apples are staying golden.
Apple slices ordinarily turn brown over period because certain enzymes in their flesh react to the oxygen in the air. But the company that induced these new apples utilized CRISPR, a powerful gene editing tool, to quiet the gene that builds that enzyme. Less enzyme equals less browning.
The new apples are a variation of the Golden Delicious apple and will be sold sliced up in 10-ounce grab bag in about 400 stores in the Midwest.
Though genetically modified ingredients, such as corn or soybeans, are common, fruits are a different matter. Currently, merely one various kinds of genetically modified fruit is sold in the United States — a virus-resistant papaya. The company is hoping that by making the fruit more appealing, they can help persuade people to choice healthier snacks.
“The purpose of Arctic apples is definitely to promote healthy eating, boost apple consumption, and reduce food waste, ” the president of the company told the Chicago Tribune.
These are not the first browning-resistant apples available to customers. Non-genetically modified Opal apples also lack much of the browning enzyme and are currently available to eat.
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