FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Norfolk Plant Sciences' High Antioxidant Purple Tomato Completes FDA Consultation
Norwich, UK - July 10, 2023 - Norfolk Plant Sciences (NPS) is delighted to announce the successful completion of its consultation with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding its high-antioxidant purple tomato. Following a comprehensive review, the FDA stated, "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 positive decision in September 2022, marking a significant milestone for Norfolk.
The purple tomato signifies a remarkable breakthrough in nutrition, offering consumers a vibrant and healthy addition to their diets. With this achievement, the company is ready to introduce a range of purple tomato products, including fresh tomatoes and seeds for home gardeners.
Developed by Professor Cathie Martin at the esteemed John Innes Centre in Norwich, UK, the purple tomato derives its exceptional antioxidant properties from two genes sourced 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.
Throughout the consultation process, the FDA meticulously reviewed the purple tomato's composition, safety, and other relevant parameters. Purple tomatoes have similar nutrient composition as their conventional counterparts, except for their intended higher levels of anthocyanins. The agency concluded that bioengineered purple tomatoes do not present concerns for human food.
"This is excellent news," exclaimed Founder Prof. Cathie Martin. "Fifteen years after our first peer-reviewed publication, I am thrilled to share the healthy fruits of my research with tomato lovers and gardeners."
Founder Prof. Jonathan Jones echoed her sentiments: “This FDA 'no further questions' verdict on the purple tomato feels like a watershed moment. Since Cathie and I founded NPS over 15 years ago, a challenging regulatory process has hindered our vision of a consumer biotech company that could add attractive and health-promoting traits to fresh produce. The challenges have been successfully overcome, and we are eager to introduce these crop improvements to the public in a product that enables consumer choice.”
Nathan Pumplin, CEO of Norfolk Healthy Produce, extended his gratitude to the FDA for their diligent review of the product. Pumplin stated, "The support and engagement we've received from the FDA, and from our industry, have been truly inspiring as we pave the way for the next generation of produce and food. With a tomato that captivates palates while promoting well-being, we look forward to sharing its exceptional qualities with enthusiastic consumers."
Jessica Louie, CTO of Norfolk Healthy Produce, shared that the purple tomato is currently available: “Our limited supply of purple tomatoes has already started to delight people. We are excited to continue this journey by supporting our local growers as we introduce this remarkable product at select restaurants and markets. We eagerly anticipate expanding the availability of this exceptional product in 2024, making it more accessible to all.”
About Norfolk Plant Sciences
Norfolk Plant Sciences, founded by Professors Cathie Martin and Jonathan Jones in 2007 as a spin-out from the John Innes Centre and the Sainsbury Laboratory, is dedicated to positively impacting health and sustainability through groundbreaking discoveries in plant biology. The company's US-based subsidiary, Norfolk Healthy Produce, is actively developing and marketing the next generation of innovative vegetables and fruits to meet the needs of consumers, farmers, and the environment.
For media inquiries, please contact
Nathan Pumplin, CEO
Norfolk Healthy Produce
USDA decision on Norfolk’s Purple Tomato