Opal apples receive Non-GMO verification - The Packer

Opal apples receive Non-GMO verification

04/01/2014 12:44:00 PM
Tom Karst

In a move designed to avoid consumer confusion, the Opal apple will carry Non-GMO labelling to set it apart from a non-browning apple being considered for approval by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The GMO Arctic apple is not available and has not been approved for sale, but FirstFruits Marketing, Yakima, Wash., sought the Non-GMO Project Verified certification to ensure consumers know the Opal’s slow-browning characteristic is natural.

“We want consumers to have confidence that Opal is not a GMO product and not confuse Opal with the new GMO variety currently under consideration by the USDA,” Keith Mathews, chief executive officer of FirstFruits Marketing, said in a news release. “We understand that some consumers are concerned about GMO products and felt it was important to clarify the natural non-browning characteristic is just that — natural.”

Opal is the first U.S. apple variety sold fresh that has been verified as non-GMO by the organization, according to the release. The Non-GMO Project offers an independent verification for non-GMO food and products, according to the release. Non-GMO Project verification of both organic and conventional Opal apple varieties will help consumers understand that Opal’s resistance to browning is all natural, according to the release.

Non-GMO VerifiedThe Opal apple variety, a combination of topaz and golden delicious varieties, was developed by traditional breeding techniques in the Czech Republic, according to the release. The variety was brought to market in 1999. In North America, the variety — with the technical designation of UEB 32642 — is grown exclusively by Broetje Orchards and distributed under the trademarked Opal brand name by First Fruits Marketing in North America.

The Opal variety have the golden color and sweetness of a golden delicious apple, but without that variety’s tendency to bruise. The Opal variety is also resistant to oxidation when cut, according to the release, which makes them slow to brown.

While genetically modified apples are not currently available for sale in the U.S., the Canadian-based Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc. has been seeking deregulation of its non-browning GMO Arctic apple from the USDA for several years. Thousands of comments have been received by the USDA about deregulation of the Arctic apple, mostly opposed to its release.

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Mischa Popoff    
Greenville TX  |  April, 01, 2014 at 02:16 PM

This is ridiculous. With the exception of the Arctic apple, no apple anywhere is genetically modified. So picking one out of the bunch and labelling it as such makes about as much sense as labelling the chair you're sitting on non-GMO.

Apple Eater    
Appleville, Planet Earth  |  April, 01, 2014 at 02:50 PM

Good for Opal. Because of the pro-GMO people that are against truth in labeling we must assume everything is GMO unless labeled GMO free.

Mischa Popoff    
Greenville TX  |  April, 02, 2014 at 10:30 AM

Did you know President Clinton wanted the organic industry to at least consider the possibility of admitting GMOs on a case by case basis? Good thing you voted for the Republicans back in 1996!

Dr REL    
Spokane WA  |  April, 02, 2014 at 12:41 PM

Two important issues here: Regardless of the brown-color, a bruised apple is a cull, the apple flesh is mushy and breaks down with, or without, the color. All this does is help the grower/grocer/wholesaler avoid detection of the bruising and make the consumer the victim by not being able to spot the bruises....consumer the victim again. Second: This variety, if bred as advertised, is a hybrid or a cross-breeding. The article purposefully blurs the distinction by making references to both conventional & genetically modified in the same breathe and while it points it out to be a non-GMO it makes seem to be in the same group as apples with some kind of a modification, only the Non-GMO verification makes the difference. Let me add one more note folks: the compounds that are oxidizing are natural plant defense compounds: necessary for plants to NATURALLY resist fungi, bacteria and insects. Inhibiting these compounds' production (polyphenol oxidase)= the need for more fungicides, antibiotics and insecticides. So to all of you who believe "no browning" is a wonderful thing; wait until you, and your children, take a mouthful of higher-dose antibiotics or insecticides. I suppose the USDA, EPA, FDA who are all staffed with employees of the chemical industries, think this is a wonderful idea! And, Non-GMO!!! WoW! Thanks!

Joe Pansell    
Seattle  |  November, 02, 2014 at 09:44 PM

"In a move designed to avoid consumer confusion" - just the opposite. The non-GMO label just adds confusion to the GMO scene. There is no GMO debate amongst credible scientists and international health organizations. GMOs are every bit (if not more with all the extra testing) safe as conventionally breed plants. Furthermore, there are currently no GMO apples for sale. The Non-GMO Verified Project label is just marketing ploy to cater to pseudoscience crowd.

Lora Wainscott    
United States  |  January, 16, 2015 at 05:34 PM

I had my first Opal Apples just this week, and had never heard of them. They do resemble a Golden Delicious in appearance, but the flavor is wonderful. Not too sweet, not tart, and crisp. My new favorite, if I can find them.

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