WASHINGTON — To consume or not to consume -- a purple tomato? That is the question.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has approved a genetically modified purple tomato, soon people can buy the unique fruit in local grocery stores next year.
The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service reviewed the new purple tomato from Norfolk Plant Sciences earlier this month.
The fruit was modified to change its color and enhance its nutritional quality. "From a plant pest risk perspective, this plant may be safely grown and used in breeding in the United States," the USDA said in a press release.
The next step for the fruit is to get the thumbs up from the Food Drugs and Administration and the purple tomato will be available on store shelves across the U.S.
The genetically modified produce was developed by a team of scientists, including British biochemist Cathie Martin.
According to Norfolk Plant Sciences, purple tomatoes are high in anthocyanins, which are antioxidant compounds with widely-recognized health benefits.
In addition to its health benefits, the fruit apparently tastes good, reduces waste, and makes a convenient snack for the on-the-go.