A crop of mad scientists at Del Monte, the California-based food production and distribution company, have finally made it possible for you to liven up your fruit salad with a new color, using a not-so-new fruit: that's right, there's now a pink pineapple. The FDA recently approved Del Monte’s genetically modified, pink-fleshed pineapple, extra-sweet and grown in Costa Rica. How’d Del Monte make it pink? The pineapple, the FDA says, “has been genetically engineered to produce lower levels of the enzymes already in conventional pineapple that convert the pink pigment lycopene to the yellow pigment beta carotene. Lycopene is the pigment that makes tomatoes red and watermelons pink, so it is commonly and safely consumed." Sounds safe enough.
One big upside, of course, is that now your standard grapefruit isn’t the only option should you want to add a dash of pink to a fruit bowl or skewer. While this isn’t the most useful example of genetic engineering—Hawaii’s rainbow papaya, which is resistant to the ringspot virus, certainly takes the civil service award—Del Monte’s pink pineapple, which it calls an “extra sweet pink flesh pineapple,” isn’t the only fruit scientists have somewhat needlessly tinkered with through the years to make eating more interesting. There are cotton candy grapes, as Delish.com points out, as well as lematos, blood limes, pluots, tangelos and rangpurs.
But the pink pineapple feels particularly revolutionary, considering that the fruit’s is so deeply entwined with the color yellow. Perhaps the next, potentially more practical step for scientists will be to make this strange fruit look a little less like a mutant pine cone.