Arctic Apple? – The Removal Of Apple Polyphenols

If anyone has been watching or reading real news lately (not mainstream media), you would have noticed that a company in Okanagen British Columbia called Okanagen Specialty Fruits Inc. has developed (genetically engineered) a new breed of apple known as the arctic apple. It was very clever to name it the “arctic apple” associating the white of the arctic with an apple that stays white. How do they do it? They remove specific apple polyphenols.The apple polyphenol that they remove is called Polyphenol Oxidase. They do so via genetic modification. They stop the polyphenol from being made by turning off the gene that produces it. Okanagen Specialty Fruits Inc. tries to differentiate themselves from the other companies that create genetically modified crops by introducing genes from other species. This in itself is misleading.

The definition of genetic modification… is common sense. The modification of genetics. That is exactly “textbook definition” of what Okanagen Specialty Fruits Inc has done. Modifying a specific gene to not produce a certain apple polyphenol… genetic modification plain and simple.

What is Polyphenol Oxidase? Polyphenol Oxidase is the same antioxidant that turns tea brown. Green tea is made by drying out the leaves so that Polyphenol Oxidase becomes in-active, its still there. By allowing Polyphenol Oxidase to continue oxidizing the tea leaves, we get great teas likeĀ  oolong and black tea. Black tea has antibacterial properties that are very, very beneficial.

Polyphenol oxidase works the same way in apples by producing antibacterial properties. These antibacterial properties are the apple’s natural defense against infections and work in other fruits by minimizing and localizing the infection.

Okanagen Specialty Fruits Inc is removing these apple polyphenols for business profits.

The company begins trying to justify the removal by saying that it would be beneficialĀ  in the dried fruit market where they would normally use metabisulfites (chemicals that causes an allergic reaction in some people) in the dehydration process. With the arctic apple they wouldn’t need to use these chemicals. So that is one actual benefit.

Looking at the big picture though it all about business. Don’t be fooled. It always comes back around to business profit with genetic modification.

The facts:

  • By genetically modifying this apple, they would “own” the patent on this apple crop.
  • It costs millions of dollars to do genetic research, develop this crop and plant the crop with an expectation of a return on their investment.
  • There is nothing in place to keep these genetically modified apples from cross pollinating (infecting in this case) other species of natural apples.
  • If this happens, legally since they “own” the crop, they can sue farmers for selling apples that have their modifications spread to them. We have seen this happen with Monsanto who has sued farmers for millions because Monsanto’s corn infected the farmers corn. (Its completely backwards). I’m not saying Okanagen Specialty Fruits Inc will… but they can.
  • If for some legal reason they can’t, there is still the serious issue of these apples infecting other apple species. Once that is done there is no reversing the damage its permanent.

What would the problem be if arctic apples infected other species of natural apples?

  • In an interview with Neal Carter (President of Okanagen Specialty Fruits Inc) he specifically states that “…getting rid of this antioxidant would change the game quite a bit” when referring to the success of fresh cut produce. See the interview at
  • For one, bringing an apple to success in the fresh cut fruit market place, does not justify the removal of this antioxidant. (That’s like saying “lets remove vitamin c from oranges…” for some business profit). It’s an absurdity.
  • Science is no where near understanding the full scope of what certain antioxidants, including apple polyphenols, do and do not do. They simply remove the antioxidant because they know of one thing that it does and removing it benefits business, not us.

Maybe its just me, but the other reason that I eat apples (besides the fact they taste good) is for the health benefits. So if companies start removing the health benefits from natural food for business purposes, what’s the point in eating them? No one really cares that a section of their apple might turn slightly tan after a few minutes they still eat it, I do.

I also prefer to cut my own fruit because then I know that someone with dirty hands hasn’t contaminated the fruit I’m about to eat. The skin on fruit, protects the fruit the same way our skin does. I don’t need nor want grocery companies cutting my fruit for me and charging extra for it. Let alone another company (Okanagen Specialty Fruits Inc) removing beneficial antioxidants from my fruit so that grocery companies can do so.

As mentioned before the removal of any beneficial antioxidant from apples is an absurdity. Okanagen Specialty Fruits Inc is doing so strictly for business purposes without knowing the full scope of the impact it will have. Removing antioxidants from food for cosmetic/business purposes is something that shouldn’t even be on the table… pun intended.

Written by Jacob Jacobson.

Want to stand up against the genetic modification that removes apple polyphenols from apples? Visit and sign the petition:

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