FirstFruits Marketing of Washington announces that Opal apple is now Non-GMO Project Verified. Opal is the first U.S. variety sold as a whole, fresh apple that has been verified as non-GMO by the organization.
The Non-GMO Project offers North America’s only independent verification for non-GMO food and products and offers assurance that a product has been produced according to rigorous best practices for GMO avoidance.
The Opal apple was developed by traditional breeding techniques by a professional plant breeder in the Czech Republic and commercialized in 1999. Opal is the natural combination of Topaz and Golden Delicious. The golden color and sweetness are inherent from Golden Delicious, but without any of the propensity to bruise. The crisp bite and slight tang are a result of the best qualities of Topaz and make Opal a perfectly balanced apple, say company officials.
One key and natural characteristic of Opal apples is their resistance to oxidation when cut, which means the apples are very slow to brown. Non-GMO Project verification of both organic and conventional Opal apple varieties is a way to ensure that consumers understand Opal’s resistance to browning is all natural.
Although GMO apples are not currently available for sale in the U.S., a Canadian company has developed a non-browning GMO apple which is currently under consideration for approval by the USDA. This shared aspect of non-browning between the Opal and the new GMO apple, and the confusion that could create for consumers, motivated FirstFruits to seek non-GMO Project verification for Opal apple, officials add.
“We want consumers to have confidence that Opal is not a GMO product and not confuse Opal with the new GMO variety currently under consideration by the USDA,” said Keith Mathews, CEO of FirstFruits Marketing. “We understand that some consumers are concerned about GMO products and felt it was important to clarify the natural non-browning characteristic is just that — natural.”