Oct 21, 2015
Environmental group: Wendy’s has no plans to buy Arctic apples

Wendy’s, one of the nation’s top restaurant chains, has confirmed the company does not plan to sell or use the genetically modified Arctic apple, according to an environmental group called Friends of the Earth (FOE).

Earlier this year, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service deregulated two apple varieties that are genetically engineered to resist browning. Arctic Golden and Arctic Granny – part of the “Arctic” line of apple cultivars developed through the use of biotechnology by Okanagan Specialty Fruits (OSF), a Canadian company – are the first non-browning apple varieties in the United States. Other Arctic varieties are expected to follow, according to OSF.

Like other GMOs, the Arctic Apple will not be required to be labeled as genetically engineered, according to Friends of the Earth.

Wendy’s, which sells apple slices in its kids’ meals, confirmed in an email to Friends of the Earth that it has no plans to sell Arctic apples. Major food companies including McDonald’s and Gerber have also stated that they have no plans to source or sell this genetically engineered apple, according to FOE.

“Wendy’s is wisely listening to its customers by joining other major food companies and apple growers in rejecting this unnecessary and risky genetically engineered apple,” said Lisa Archer, FOE’s food and technology program director. “It’s becoming increasingly clear that there is no demand for this new GMO.”

Neal Carter, founder of OSF, said this about the Wendy’s decision.

“While Wendy’s states they do not currently carry any genetically engineered apples or have plans to do at this time, there is no plausible reason why they would state otherwise. Our non-browning Arctic apples will be the first biotech apples to become available, but they are not yet in the marketplace and won’t be widely available to consumers for some time yet.

“Wendy’s statement has nothing to do with a rejection of biotechnology or Arctic apples, and this is a clear attempt by FOE to intentionally mislead consumers. This follows previous attempts in which FOE claimed McDonald’s and Gerber had ‘rejected’ Arctic apples in response to similar letters, even though those statements came years before Arctic apples were even approved, never mind sufficient supply being available.

“We anticipate having small, test-market quantities of Arctic apples available in late 2016. It would be at least a few more years before a large enough supply of Arctic apples would be available to satisfy the requirements of a major restaurant chain,” Carter said.

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