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Pink pineapples and healthy fries

From health benefits to increased flavour and longer shelf-life, discover the new generation of GM foods designed with the consumer in mind.

Non-browning apples

Some people dislike eating fruit with flesh that has become discoloured. This never happens to Arctic apples. They went on sale in the US in November 2017.

Potatoes that don’t bruise

The Innate potato is less prone to bruising and consequent black spots. When fried, it also produces less acrylamide, a substance suspected of causing cancer, than conventional spuds do.

Wheat with “good” gluten

People with coeliac disease could soon have their cake and eat it. At least two groups worldwide are editing out the genes for the gluten proteins that damage the guts of people with this digestive disorder. One GM wheat is undergoing clinical trials in Spain.

Pink pineapples

They are pink because they accumulate lycopene, the pigment that makes tomatoes red, instead of converting it into yellow beta-carotene as normal pineapples do. The US gave the green light for this variety to be eaten in December 2016, but it is yet to go on sale. Lycopene is thought to have various health benefits. The pink pineapples are also said to be sweeter – and add a twist to a pina colada.

Omega-3 rapeseed (canola)

This seed from the rape plant is rich in the beneficial omega-3 oil DHA. The plan is to market it first as fish feed and then for human consumption. Last year, 1200 hectares were grown and harvested in the US.

High-fibre white bread

Gene-edited wheat yields white flour with three times as much dietary fibre as standard white flour.

Bloodier oranges

Blood oranges are regarded as beneficial because they are rich in antioxidants called anthocyanins. Normal blood oranges only turn red if they experience cold nights while growing. The GM strain is full of anthocyanins regardless of the weather. The oranges are not yet on sale.

Bananas with a boost

The matoke cooking banana is a staple in Uganda. The GM variety contains provitamin A, a lack of which can lead to blindness. It is being field tested in Uganda and could be on sale in 2021.

Lower-saturated fat rapeseed oil

Conventional rapeseed oil contains 7 per cent saturated fats. A gene-edited variety will have half this amount.

Golden rice

Rice designed to reduce vitamin A deficiency has been under development for decades, but has yet to reach market. It received a big boost earlier this year when Australia, New Zealand and Canada declared it safe for humans, meaning there would be no regulatory issues if those countries imported food containing small quantities of the rice.

Source: New Scientist