b'THE FUTURE OF THE PURPLE GM TOMATO LIES WITH CONSUMERSConsumers in Canada will soon have access to the only GM tomato available on the market. Ally RodenTOMATOES ARENT NEWto the methods and technology offor how to increase the antioxidant capacity of tomato gene modification. In fact, a GMO tomato was one of thein 2002 where she discovered that genes in snapdragons first pieces of GMO produce that became available forcould turn on the synthesis of purple pigments.sale in 1994, following approval from the U.S. Food andI knew how to engineer anthocyanin production. So, Drug Administration (FDA). This special tomato, knownbecause anthocyanins are good antioxidants, it seemed as the Flavr Savr, was developed by Californias Calgenereasonable to make anthocyanins in tomato fruit. Before with consumers in mind. The tomato was geneticallythe plants had ripened, we didnt know what colour they modified to extend its shelf life and bring consumers awould be: red, purple or blue. Turned out they were better tasting and longer lasting tomato. purple, explains Martin.Despite massive steps forward for genetically modifiedNot only are the tomatoes a beautiful purple colour, foods, Flavr Savr was not a commercial success and ulti- but they also offer consumers produce that is high in mately was taken off the shelves in 1997 due to high pro- antioxidantsand will be available for consumers to duction costs and financial troubles, according to Oregonpurchase in the new year.State University. Over the following 20 years, there were various successful GMO products, but not in tomatoes Regulatory Approval Unlocks the Future of the Purple Tomatoyet this is about to change thanks to experts at NorfolkOn Sept. 7, 2022, the USDAs Animal and Plant Health Plant Sciences (NPS) that have set out to bring a new GMInspection Service (APHIS) announced its decision to tomato to market. allow U.S. home growers to purchase and grow high-Tomato has been developed for over 15 years, andanthocyanin purple tomato seeds beginning in 2023. The were now looking to commercialize it as what will be thepurple tomato is no longer restricted due to regulations first GMO tomato since the Flavr Savr, and the only onethat limit Movement of Organisms Modified or Produced available on the market, says Nathan Pumplin, CEO ofthrough Genetic Engineering.NPS U.S.-based commercial business. This milestone regulatory decision was crucial for NPS, Developed by Cathie Martin, a professor at the Johnas the nature of the regulatory framework in the past has Innes Center, this GMO tomato is not just any ordinarymade the process nearly impossible for small companies tomatoit contains genes made of powerful antioxi- with products like NPS purple tomato to go through dants called anthocyanins. Martin began her researchthe regulatory process without spending an extravagant amount of money.Theres now a possible path for creative researchers and small companies to develop new products that are enabled with biotechnology and get them out onto the market to consumers where they can be tested to see if its something that consumers really want, says Pumplin. This was not possible up until this year because, at least in the U.S., the nature of the regulatory frame-work was simply too costly and too long for products like ours, which are not going to generate huge profits the way that corn and soy do.With this regulatory approval and ability to sell the product in the U.S., NPS hopes to show consumers the immense benefits the 34GERMINATION.CAMARCH 2023'