However, according to a statement from Del Monte officials April 26, the new pineapple variety — dubbed Rosé — is “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,” according to the statement from Dennis Christou, vice president of marketing in North America for the Coral Gables, Fla., produce company.
“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.”
Del Monte officials wrote to the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service in July 2012 seeking approval for its patent-pending Rosé pineapple. Michael Gregoire, deputy administrator of biotechnology regulatory services at APHIS responded with the agency’s OK on Jan. 25, but the response was not made public until late April.
Before the new pineapple can be imported to the U.S., Del Monte must complete a food safety consultation with the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA’s website listing approved consultations did not show any pineapple reqults as of April 26.
“APHIS confirms that the harvested Del Monte Rosé pineapple as described in your documentation does not require an importation or interstate movement permit under (federal code),” according to Gregoire’s letter.
“… fruit from the Del Monte Rosé pineapple cultivar does not have the ability to propagate and persist in the environment once they have been harvested.”
In its request to APHIS, Del Monte described the new pineapple variety as having rose-colored flesh.
“To achieve its novel fruit color, Del Monte Fresh has altered expression of genes involved in lycopene biosynthesis to increase levels in edible tissues of pineapple fruit,” according to Del Monte’s request. “The genes of interest are derived from edible plant species, pineapple and tangerine.”