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US approves three GMO potato varieties that can be grown and sold in retail outlets

Note to readers: This article was first published in February 2017 with authorization of Simplot Company Ltd, and the abstract below is a re-print of the original article. Editor, Potato News Today

Three types of potatoes genetically engineered to resist late blight are safe for the environment and safe to eat, federal officials in the US have reportedly announced last week according to an article published by Spring Hill Insider here.

According to information published in the article, he approval by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave Idaho-based J.R. Simplot Company permission to plant the potatoes this spring and sell them in the fall.

The company said the potatoes contain only potato genes, and that the resistance to late blight, the disease that caused the Irish potato famine, comes from an Argentine variety of potato that naturally produced a defense.

The three varieties are the Russet Burbank, Ranger Russet and Atlantic. They‘ve previously been approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

All three varieties “have the same taste and texture and nutritional qualities” as conventional potatoes, said Simplot spokesman Doug Cole.

Simplot says the genetically engineered potatoes reduce the use of fungicide by half.

The company said the potatoes will also have reduced bruising and black spots, enhanced storage capacity, and a reduced amount of a chemical created when potatoes are cooked at high temperatures that‘s a potential carcinogen.

The first generation of Simplot’s Innate GMO potatoes has been sold in stores under the White Russet label. Cole said the company hasn‘t decided how it will market the second generation.

The company is currently at work on a third generation that Cole said will have protections against additional strains of late blight, all coming from genes within the potato species.

Read the Spring Hill Insider article here

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today

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