Breeding, Fresh/ Table, GMO, Health/Nutrition/Food Safety, Studies/Reports, Trends, Varieties

Will new GMO potatoes really require fewer pesticides?

Consumers seeking to satisfy their salty snack cravings sans genetically modified ingredients may soon have to get savvier about scouting out chips and other products made without the use of GMO potatoes. This week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture formally approved two new types of genetically engineered potatoes, both of which were developed by Simplot, the Idaho-based spud giant. (A third GMO variety was previously approved by the department.) Now, pending what amounts to a fairly cursory review by the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency, the company expects all three GMO strains to be available to farmers for planting next spring. It’s hardly an exaggeration to say that over the past two decades, the agriculture industry in the United States has wholeheartedly embraced GMO crops (other than potatoes) with gusto. Field tests of an early GMO potato variety sparked one of the first protests against the technology back in the late 1980s, and the industry remained largely GMO-free. It was just last year that the potato industry began planting a GMO variety on a commercial scale. More

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