Karst chat with Neal Carter: On the GM Arctic apple - The Packer

Karst chat with Neal Carter: On the GM Arctic apple

01/07/2011 03:26:18 PM
Tom Karst

11:20 a.m. Karst: What can you say about the approval process in the U.S. and Canada?

11:21 a.m. Carter: It is not just the USDA, FDA and Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Health Canada. Each country has its own group and there are numerous groups in each country. So it is quite an arduous process.

11:22 a.m. Karst: So about three years or so?

11:23 a.m. Carter: I'm not very good with that crystal all because so much of it plays out of our hands. It is in the hands of the regulatory people. I think sometime in 2012 will be realistic in the United States and maybe add a year to that in Canada. Canadian regulatory people seem to take a little longer. They don't have the depth of resources that the USDA and FDA have. So, yes, 2012 and 2013.

11:24 a.m. Karst: So there are Arctic apple trees in nurseries in the U.S now?

11:24 a.m. Carter: There are trees in field trails. You need to have sufficient field trials to build a data package to be able to submit a deregulation petition. If one was to try to visualize the amount of data collected from these apples, you could think of maybe 10 PhD. theses or something to that effect. So it is a pretty significant quantity of data that is being collected and analyzed that is being done, so the field trials have sufficient to build that body of data. Beyond that, no trees have gone out to commercial blocks.

11:26 a.m. Karst: So the field trials are in Canada and the U.S.?

11:27 a.m. Carter: They are predominantly in the U.S. If you go to the APHIS web site you can find the states where our field trials are located.

11:28 a.m. Karst: Do you have other apple varieties you are working on beside Arctic?

11:29 a.m. Carter: Arctic is the brand name that is associated with the inhibition of Polyphenol Oxidase and the control of enzymatic browning.

So we have our Arctic golden and granny leading the way in the current submission and then we are working and are testing building data packages for fuji, gala, mcIntosh and cripps pink.

We have worked on many other varieties as well but those are the ones leading the way.

11:31 a.m. Karst: How did you come to do the work you are now doing?

11:32 a.m. Carter: I'm a bioresource engineer. I have worked in over 50 countries around the world and worked particularly in harvest and postharvest handling and have seen the enormous losses that are prevalent in so many parts of the world in harvest and post harvest handling. We started at looking at ways to deal with of enzymatic browning and other things. Also, being involved personally – my wife and I have an orchard - we are very familiar with what cullage does to grower returns and packouts. We are interested at looking at the application of new technologies in this area. Another business we own is pretty well dedicated to innovations in agriculture, introducing new technologies in agriculture from an engineering perspective as well as software, electronics and robotics. This just seemed to be a natural fit. So we established Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc. as sole purpose company that would be working on using molecular biology techniques to advance new varieties.

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