The FDA said this week that new varieties of genetically modified fruits and vegetables are safe for consumption, The New York Times reports. The safety review covered six varieties of potatoes engineered by J. R. Simplot Company and two varieties of apples from Okanagan Specialty Fruits.
As safe as their conventional counterparts
The bruise-resistant crops were recently approved for commercial farming by the USDA, but their GMO status raised some public concerns. The FDA rarely issues statements following a safety review, according to the Times. But increasingly anxious public speculation over the produce likely prompted the FDA's response.
"The consultation process includes a review of information provided by a company about the nature of the molecular changes and the nutritional composition of the food compared to traditionally bred varieties," Dennis Keefe, director of the FDA’s Office of Food Additive Safety said in a statement. "This case-by-case safety evaluation ensures that food safety issues are resolved prior to commercial distribution."
The apples, which will be marketed as Arctic Golden and Arctic Granny, have been engineered to resist browning. The potato varieties have also been engineered to resist bruising and are said to produce less of a potential carcinogenic usually created when potatoes are fried. They will be marketed under the trade name Innate.
Both Simplot and Okanagan plan to sell their seed varieties to farms, which means growers and retailers would be responsible for labeling the produce as GMOs. The FDA urged the companies to consult with the administration about proper labeling before the crops become available in stores.