APHIS Reviews Genetically-Modified Tomato

Dan Fruits, Specialty Crops, USDA-APHIS, Vegetables


The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) reviewed a new tomato variety from Norfolk Plant Sciences. The tomato was modified to alter its color to purple and enhance the nutritional quality.

The agency says it found the plant is unlikely to pose an increased plant pest risk compared to other cultivated tomatoes and is not subject to regulation. That means, from a plant pest risk perspective, this plant may be safely grown and bred in the U.S. The gene-edited tomato is high in antioxidants believed to fight cancer and heart disease.


A Rabobank report says interest in specialty crops should continue growing worldwide. Gene-editing technology like CRISPR (crisper) lets scientists design a plant without introducing foreign genes and should help reduce the recent controversy over GMOs.

“We expect that specialty crops like fruits and vegetables with output traits to be among the first new GMOs to hit the market,” the report says.

(From the National Association of Farm Broadcasters)