Aug 5, 2020
Okanagan Specialty Fruits hires Tahir as director, research and regulatory affairs

Summerland, British Columbia-based Okanagan Specialty Fruits announced Muhammad Tahir (Tahir) has joined the company as its new director, research and regulatory affairs, replacing John Armstrong, who is retiring after 20 years with the company.

According to a news release, Tahir has an esteemed corporate research and academic track record in both Canada and the United States. After earning a Ph.D. in Plant Breeding and Genetics at Washington State University, Tahir established an impressive career with leading agricultural science companies, developing research strategies, managing and administering research teams, delivering viable and profitable commercial products as crop varieties or hybrids and working with regulatory agencies. Tahir’s academic career includes teaching and research in areas related to genetics, functional genomics, biotechnology and crop breeding.  

“I am excited to join a dynamic business and research team with an established track record of development, production and commercialization of fruit varieties with novel traits,” said Tahir. “My focus will be to build on OSF’s research platform to deliver more successful, commercially viable and tastefully consumable fruit varieties.”    

Tahir replaces John Armstrong who retired from Okanagan Specialty Fruits (OSF) after 20 years of leading the company’s Research and Regulatory Affairs. John joined OSF in its infancy and was responsible for the development of the Arctic apple technology, which to date has led to the development of four novel varieties including Arctic Golden, Arctic Granny, Arctic Fuji, and Arctic Gala. The first three of these varieties were guided through the regulatory agencies in both the U.S, and Canada by John. The Arctic® Gala is currently under regulatory review. 

Neal Carter, President and Founder, Okanagan Specialty Fruits, commented, “The elegant science that turns off the expression of the enzyme polyphenol oxidase in apple cultivars spearheaded by John Armstrong was unprecedented for the time. We are so excited to now see our products available for consumers’ enjoyment. We look forward to working with Tahir, as we continue to expand the variety of Arctic® apples we produce, and other products in development.”

OSF) is a vertically integrated company specializing in the development, growing, processing and marketing of novel tree fruit varieties developed through bioengineering and other molecular tools.

Based in Summerland, British Columbia, Canada, OSF was founded in 1996 and acquired by an affiliate of Third Security, LLC in 2020. OSF’s flagship product is its nonbrowning Arctic apples. Arctic apples provide a sustainable solution to less food waste and improved apple consumption.

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