Intrexon acquires Arctic apple supplier

by Eric Schroeder
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Plans in place to develop beneficial traits in other tree fruits, including peaches, cherries and pears.

GERMANTOWN, MD. — Intrexon Corp., a leader in synthetic biology, has completed the acquisition of Okanagan Specialty Fruits, supplier of the Arctic apple, the world’s first non-browning apple without the use of any flavor-altering chemical or antioxidant additives. Financial terms were not disclosed.

“Arctic apples’ non-browning trait creates a wide array of benefits that offer value to the entire supply chain, especially consumers,” said Neal Carter, founder and president of Okanagan Specialty Fruits. “Arctic apples have been planted for 12 years, and have completed review processes with the U.S.D.A., F.D.A., C.F.I.A. and Health Canada, who concluded they are as safe and nutritious as traditional apple varieties. We look forward to bringing better versions of consumers’ favorite fruits to their grocery stores and kitchens.”

Okanagan Specialty Fruits, Summerland, B.C., offers Granny Smith and Golden Delicious varieties of apples, known collectively by the trade name “Arctic” apples. They are genetically engineered to resist browning by reducing levels of enzymes that have been shown to cause browning, which is associated with cuts and bruises in apples.

 The F.D.A. on March 20 concluded the Granny Smith and Golden Delicious varieties of the Arctic apples are as safe and nutritious as their conventional counterparts.

Intrexon and Okanagan Specialty Fruits said they are focused on bringing small quantities of the Arctic apples to market in late 2016, with increasing amounts of fruit becoming available each successive year. In addition to the recently approved Arctic Golden and Arctic Granny apples, Okanagan Specialty Fruits said it’s preparing to submit two additional apple varieties for approval — Arctic Fuji and Arctic Gala — and also is developing beneficial traits in other tree fruits, including peaches, cherries and pears.

“We are enthusiastic for the potential of the Arctic apple and the future products that will build on the OSF platform, which ultimately will create novel foods that promote health and delight the consumer,” said Thomas R. Kasser, Ph.D., senior vice-president and head of Intrexon’s food sector. “Powering the bioindustrial revolution in our food sector means providing an ever-growing population with easier access to healthy high-quality foods so we look forward to seeing the OSF products, along with our other programs in plants and animals, advancing sustainable bio-based solutions that improve the efficiency of food production while increasing consumer appeal and satisfaction.”
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