About Joel Brooks

Growing up in the Okanagan Valley, Joel had the opportunity to experience apple growing first hand, a background that helped lead him to his role as Product & Special Projects Manager. Joel feels privileged to work with such great people towards a goal that’s so easy to get behind – helping people to eat more apples!


  1. Lori

    Good infographic. I was actually looking for a little more real science. Is this cisgenesis? Does is use a viral vector for insertion? I think it’s interesting that the consumer demand was put up front in the process; a good idea.
    I can also say that it’s true that kids, and teens, and hey, adults, eat more apples if they are sliced.

  2. Sapna

    PPOs are important enzymes to both plants and animal species. This GMO apple reduces the PPO content in the fruit. PPOs play an important role in the resistance of plants to microbial and viral infections, as well as to adverse climatic conditions. PPOs also occur in animals and have mechanisms that increase disease resistance in insects and crustaceans. In addition to eliminating the genes responsible for PPO production, Okanagan Specialty Fruits (OSF) also uses the Cauliflower Mosaic Virus (CaMV) for the promoter function in the gene transfer. CaMV is typically unique to that of the mustard family but is now introduced to the Rosaceae (apple) family. CaMV often has damaging effects on leaves, stunts plant growth, and can deform the overall structural integrity of the plant.

    By reducing PPOs and the plants natural ability to fight disease and the introduction the CaMV virus which can further impact the plant health, OSF can very wrecklessly make a huge ripple in the surrounding ecosystem of the apple, and all of the related organisms.

    Where are the studies validated by an independent party on the impact of the PPO efficacy for microbial / viral infections in the plants? How is the plant impacted? How are other organisms within the apple tree’s ecosystem impacted? Are there any independent validations studies? Is the plan to just increase pesticide use then since you’ve reduced the plants natural ability to do that?

    • Jessica Brady

      Hello Sapna! After almost 15 years of field trials we are able to confidently say that Arctic® apples use the same inputs as their conventional counterparts. PPO levels in apples vary greatly between different conventional apple varieties as well. Our test blocks have proven that no special management practices are needed for orchards of Arctic® apple trees. The role of PPO, including information on plant defense responses, was an area closely examined in the regulatory process, and some of the key findings are summarized in section 4.1 of our original petition for the first Arctic® varieties: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/brs/aphisdocs/10_16101p.pdf Also, we have addressed the role of PPO in apples and why Arctic® apples don’t require additional pesticides here: https://www.arcticapples.com/arctic-apples-require-no-additional-pesticides/ Only a portion of the CaMV virus genes is used, so it is not active, it’s like having a bike without wheels, you can tell it’s a bike but you’re not able to ride it. Thanks for your question!

  3. Charles

    I appreciate the transparency with which you’ve brought to your approach in bringing these products to market. And I think there often is a bit of hysteria regarding the danger that many GMOs . With that said, I think the public is right to be suspicious of claims that GMOs are ‘THE ANSWER’ according to a list of experts. Market diversity is good, and there will always be folks looking for ‘old-fashioned’ apples with plenty of PPO. I don’t think your product can claim to be anything but a cosmetic change, far from the National Academy of Science’s claim that GMOs offer ‘promise for alleviating hunger and poverty.’ Do I understand correctly that your company expects these apples to be sold at market premiums?

    Interesting work, I will be keeping tabs to see how your product influences the industry.