Norwich company’s non-browning banana receives GMO exempt status in Philippines

Produce Business report

UK-based company Tropic Biosciences announced that its non-browning banana has earned non-genetically modified organism exempt status by the Philippines Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Plant Industry. 

The GMO banana can now be imported and produced within the Philippines, which is the largest banana exporter in Southeast Asia and second only to Ecuador in the world, though disease has significantly cut down their numbers in the past few years.

“The Philippines government has implemented a science-based, transparent, and efficient process for assessing the safety of gene-edited plants,” said Dr. Ofir Meir, Chief Technology Officer at Tropic, which operates out of Norwich Research Park. “This is exactly the type of system that encourages companies like Tropic to invest in innovative technologies to develop sustainable solutions for Filipino farmers.”

Tropic Biosciences is using the CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing system to produce bananas that not only cut down on food waste but also make them resistant to Panama disease Tropic Race 4, which has devastated crops worldwide.

More than 60% of bananas are thrown away every year. Tropic says the non-browning bananas can cut that figure by 25% or more.

The decision to grant Tropic the status for its non-browning bananas could open the door for Tropic to unveil new products in the future. The agriculture and biotech company says it is “dedicated to the development of healthier, more robust, high-performing varieties of tropical crops.” Currently, its portfolio includes bananas, coffee, and rice.



The Latest from PBUK

Subscribe to PBUK!

Get regular produce industry insights, sign up for our email newsletter below.