The agency "published an 83-page draft environmental assessment that largely dismissed concerns raised by critics of genetically engineered food about cross-pollination and impacts to air, water and soil health. The review also found that the apples would not pose health or worker safety concerns," Peterka writes. The agency said: "Based on the information submitted by the applicant and reviewed by APHIS," the genetically engineered apples "are agronomically, phenotypically, and biochemically comparable to conventional apple except for the nonbrowning trait."
Despite its findings, the agency said it is considering denying a petition by British Columbia-based Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc. to determine that its genetically engineered apple could be sold in the United States, because of a high number of negative comments about the apples from food safety groups and the public, Peterka writes. (Read more)