Karst: So the Arctic apples may be within reach, only a few years away?
Carter: This could open the door for other specialty crops. The (biotech) papaya should have opened the door in 1995 for other specialty crops but it didn’t seem to happen. There are all sorts of good things we could be doing to make (food) more environmentally friendly, use less water, use less inputs in general and provide a healthier more nutritious food supply. Biotech plays a role in all of that. It would be nice to be able to use that tool in the specialty crops area of fruits and vegetables.
Karst: The organic community won’t be happy with the Arctic apple, since it is not a part of their structure.
Carter: Their current position (not to have GM crops be eligible for organic certification) is unfortunate. The Arctic apple could be grown organically, for example. That will become a greater challenge as GM crops increase that have a lower environment footprint because they are requiring fewer sprays. You start to ask yourself, is there a day when GM crops will be more environmentally sustainable than organic? In some crop areas, that’s not far off. It may even be there today. In the apple business, that is something that is going to happen.