Del Monte, one of the world's largest growers and distributors of the popular tropical pineapple fruit, has developed a genetically modified pineapple that's currently being grown in Costa Rica, one of the top pineapple-producing countries. It has just received approval by the USDA for eventual sale in the U.S.
Called "Rosé", representatives for Del Monte say the GMO fruit is still in a testing phase: "The USDA's decision does not mean that Rosé is in commercial distribution; it is in a testing phase. Del Monte intends to continue to test Rosé and will communicate more details when appropriate," Dennis Christou, vice president of marketing in North America for Del Monte said in a statement, adding that, "Del Monte Fresh Produce has a very active research and development program designed to explore new varieties and new agricultural techniques. The results of these research projects may or may not lead to commercialization depending on many factors including regulatory approvals by the relevant governmental authorities where and when applicable."
According to the website, The Packer, Del Monte submitted its requests for approval from the USDA's APHIS division (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) in July of 2012, and the agency quietly gave its approval of Rosé in January of this year, but a formal public response was only made in late April.
Del Monte's request for approval describes the GMO Rosé variety as having "rose-colored flesh", which the company says comes from the addition of genes from "edible plant species, pineapple and tangerine" genetically modified to change the color of the pineapple.
A "food safety consultation" must be completed with the FDA before the pineapples can be imported to the U.S. The Packer reports that as of April 26th, the agency's list of approved consultations did not show any results connected with Del Monte's Rosé.