GMO Potatoes Will Hit Stores and Restaurants Soon…If They Haven’t Already
GMO Potatoes Will Hit Stores and Restaurants Soon…If They Haven’t Already by Daisy Luther
If you prefer to avoid genetically modified foods, here’s another one to avoid. GMO potatoes will be joining GMO apples at a store near you very soon – if they aren’t there already.
Last week, the FDA added their approval (again) to that of the EPA, giving the go-ahead for these potatoes to be planted this spring for harvest in the fall.
The rollout of the spuds has been cloaked in a fair bit of secrecy. Generally, one would expect something “new and improved” to be presented via a high-budget advertising campaign, press releases, and a giant hurrah. But, since marketers know that the public doesn’t really want anyone messing with the genetics of their favorite root vegetable, they’ve just sort of snuck them into the food supply.
Back in 2015 the FDA assessed and passed genetically modified potatoes as safe for human consumption. These potatoes are known by their trade name, Innate and so far three varieties have been assessed. They are Ranger Russet, Russet Burbank, and Atlantic, produced by J.R. Simplot Company. (source)
The claims of the modified potatoes are that:
- They’re engineered to resist the pathogen that caused the Irish potato famine
- They don’t brown when sliced
- They produce 70% less acrylamide when fried, a chemical said to cause cancer – leading to ridiculous claims by the company that these are “cancer-fighting potatoes”
- They don’t bruise as easily as non-GMO potatoes
- They don’t get those black spots in them
Althealthworks.com reported in July 2015 that GMO potatoes (which were, of course, not labeled as GMO potatoes) were already on store shelves.
Until just recently, little has been seen in the press since then regarding the sale of these spuds, the majority of which are produced in Idaho – the home of J.R. Simplot.
It all started with Monsanto.
I’m sure that’s not a surprise to anyone.
Back in 1998, Monsanto was the company marketing the Frankenspuds, a variety called NewLeaf Superior. The potatoes were Monsanto’s first GM crop and they were immediately rejected in the United States. The public just wasn’t ready for the most popular veggie in the country to be engineered in a lab.
In the same year that NewLeaf was launched, a group of 30 researchers with a grant of 2 million Euros halted the GMO potato program due to a variety of health concerns. Watch the video below from 46:55 to hear what declassified documents have to say about genetically modified vegetables.
So, according to the video above declassified documents show that there are most likely health issues associated with GMO produce.
Are the potatoes marketed by J.R. Simplot any different? Well, we have no idea because the FDA passed the NewLeaf Superior back in 1995 and it was the public backlash rather than health concerns that saw Monsanto themselves withdrawing the spuds from sale in 2001…three years afterthey were banned in Europe due to the research cited above.
Interestingly some of the varieties being produced by Simplot also appear on the old Monsanto portfolio:
Monsanto NewLeaf potato which incorporate a Bt gene conferring resistance to Colorado Potato Beetle was first approved by the US regulatory agencies in early 1995. The GE Russet Burbank potato was first transformed and appeared in Canada food chain in 1996, Bt varieties of Atlantic and superior soon followed. In both cases, the potatoes were labeled as “NatureMark” and were accompanied by informational brochures detailing the new technology. In late 1998, Monsanto acqired final approval for a second type of GE potatoes: a Russet Burbank marketed as “NewLeaf Plus” which combines the Bt trait with resistance to the Potato Leaf Roll Virus (PLRV). Shortly after that, in 1999, Monsanto added a third GE potato “NewLeaf Y” combining Bt with resistance to the Potato Virus Y (PVY). This GE trait was available in both Russet Burbank and Shepody varieties.(source)
Which companies are using GMO potatoes?