Washington State University develops non-GMO, non-browning apple alternative

Published: January 31, 2014
Category: Non-GMO Plant Breeding

Whole Foods Market non-gmo food

Washington State University’s new non-GMO apple, non-browning apple
Photo by E. Beers

To access all the articles in this month's issue of The Organic & Non-GMO Report, SUBSCRIBE NOW.

As USDA nears approval for a controversial GMO apple, a non-GMO alternative is quietly introduced and without the GMO baggage

A genetically engineered apple that doesn’t brown after it is cut has received huge media attention recently. Meanwhile, Washington State University’s recently released apple variety, WA 38, also is extremely slow to brown—and it was developed with conventional breeding techniques used for millennia.

WA 38 is a cross between Enterprise and Honeycrisp. The large, juicy apple has a remarkably firm and crisp texture. Its exceptional flavor profile provides ample sweetness and tartness, making it an excellent eating apple.

The GMO Arctic apple has generated significant media attention because of its ability to not turn brown. The non-GMO WA 38 is extremely slow to turn brown when cut and maintains its texture and flavor in storage for more than a year. Unlike the Arctic apple, WA 38 does not raise GMO concerns and is seen as a better alternative for Washington’s apple producers.

After more than 16 years in the making, this eye-catching, dark-red beauty is ready for launch into the marketplace. With its winning combination of taste, texture, and beauty, this premium apple will be a boon to Washington apple growers, WSU’s breeding program, and apple lovers everywhere.

WSU has scheduled the release date for trees to growers of WA 38 in 2017.

Washington’s apple producers are likely to welcome a non-GMO alternative because they are concerned about the impacts of the GMO Arctic apple, which may soon be approved by the US Department of Agriculture.

Henry House, a Washington State organic apple grower, calls the GMO apple “an economic disaster.”

Christian Schlect, president of the Northwest Horticultural Council, told the Washington Post, “We’re concerned about the marketing impact, from consumer impact to the imposition of additional costs.”


© Copyright The Organic & Non-GMO Report, February 2014