New GMO Potato Performs Pristinely, but Maybe Not Economically.


 Last month we heard news of the Innate potato, a GMO-developed tuber from the J.R. Simplot company that resists bruising and browning and produces fewer carcinogenic chemicals when deep fried. Yet despite Simplot’s $136 million investment, consumers and fast-food companies alike have been wary about actually using these potatoes.

NPR’s Dan Charles reports (now that the Innate is closer to getting FDA approval) that public resistance may still be strong.

Charles visits an MSU potato breeding lab running tests on the Innate (seems like a pretty great job—eating french fries in the name of science). The spud performs well, showing fewer black spots and bruises than its non-GMO counterpart. But Charles goes on to explain that a whiter more pristine potato may not be enough to sway folks away from the ever-growing controversy over GMO technology:

Patty Lovera, assistant director of Food and Water Watch, an environmental advocacy group, says food companies should, in fact, react this way. "When you ask consumers if they're comfortable with this technology, they are not," she says. Food and Water Watch has launched a petition calling on McDonald's to reject GMO potatoes.

The upside of the Innate is that it can be handled more roughly and is less cancerous when subject to high-heat frying. This poses a conundrum for consumers. For now, we’ll keep our eye on who actually buys these spuds once they hit the market, and try to help you make your own decision as we learn more  

PHOTO: via flickr


Read all articles by Damon Cory-Watson

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