Carter: That’s really up to the agency, and we don’t want to presuppose. There will be a public comment period, sometime after which they will issue their final decision. Since the submission of our petition in May 2010 we have worked hard to respond to all of their questions and we have been very impressed with their understanding of the tree fruit industry.
Karst: Are you pursuing introduction of the variety in any other countries beyond the U.S. and Canada?
Carter: The U.S. and Canadian markets are our first focus. We will submit documents to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Health Canada for the deregulation of Arctic Apple in Canada by the end of the next quarter.
Karst: Any other thoughts about where your company is at now and where you want to take it?
Carter: Arctic Apple is the first product in what we hope is going to be a long pipeline of GM-engineered solutions to industry problems. As I’ve mentioned while giving presentations at various industry gatherings over the last couple of years, we also are working on resistance to scab and Fireblight, both major industry pest protection issues. We have several other exciting projects in the pipeline, it’s really amazing what you can do with all of today’s scientific tools behind you.
TK: The apple industry's opposition to the non-browning apple may create complications when the industry is later convinced it needs biotechnology to overcome the challenges of a pest or disease. If there is one mantra the produce industry espouses, it is "let the market decide." The market yet decide the fate of the Arctic apple, after USDA scientists have their say.