Biotech Updates

GE High Antioxidant Purple Tomato Completes FDA Consultation

July 19, 2023

Norfolk Plant Sciences' high antioxidant GE purple tomatoes. Photo Source: Norfolk Plant Sciences

Norfolk Plant Sciences has announced the successful completion of its consultation with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding its genetically engineered (GE) high-antioxidant purple tomato following the agency's comprehensive review.

The FDA review states, "We have no further questions concerning human food derived from Del/Ros1-N tomato at this time."  This decision from the FDA aligns with the United States Department of Agriculture's favorable decision in September 2022, marking a significant milestone for Norfolk. The FDA meticulously reviewed the purple tomato's composition, safety, and other relevant parameters. Purple tomatoes have a similar nutrient composition as their conventional counterparts, except for their intended higher levels of anthocyanins. The FDA concluded that the GE purple tomatoes do not present concerns for human food.

The purple tomato was developed by Norfolk Founder Professor Cathie Martin at the John Innes Centre in Norwich, United Kingdom. This tomato derives its exceptional antioxidant properties from two genes from the edible snapdragon flower. These genes naturally stimulate the tomato's ability to produce purple pigments, resulting in the vibrant hues of purple-skinned tomatoes, blueberries, blackberries, and eggplants.

For more details, read the announcement from Norfolk Healthy Produce and the response letter from US FDA.

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