Biotech apples may be harbinger for GMO spuds

May 14, 2013

As Idaho's J.R. Simplot Co promotes its genetically engineered potato, a tiny Canadian apple breeder is working on a similar product that could provide a glimpse of how consumers react.

Okanogan Specialty Fruits expects U.S. and Canadian government approval for Granny Smith and Golden Delicious apple varieties with their genes modified to halt browning.

That, Okanogan says, can make them look undesirable to consumers.

Idaho Potato Commission President Frank Muir said Okanogan's experience with consumers once its apples go to market could be harbinger for the prospects of Simplot's high-tech tater.

Simplot and Okanogan relied on similar technology to create what they say is improved produce.

The U.S. apple industry has raised concerns about Okanogan's effort, however, fearing it could backfire by creating marketing headaches for traditional apple growers.

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