Three varieties of genetically modified potatoes have received approval for U.S. cultivation. The GMO potatoes are produced by Minnesota-based Calyxt, which received approval of another potato in 2014 said to reduce acrylamide levels—the cancer-causing chemical in fries and chips; and J.R. Simplot, the Boise, Idaho-based company that received approval for its Innate brand of GMO Russet Burbank potatoes in 2015.
According to reviews conducted by the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, all three of the potato varieties proved that they’ve earned the agency’s APHIS “Finding Of No Significant Impact” status known as FONSI.
The varieties, Calyxt’s PPO_KO and Simplot’s X17 and Y9 potatoes, are designed to resist bruising and browning, which the companies contend will reduce food waste, “and therefore help increase food security by keeping potatoes in the food supply that would otherwise be discarded,” reports Food Safety News. “By turning off the browning and bruising gene, fewer chips and fries should be rejected for discoloration during production.”
As much as one-third of all edible food goes uneaten, according to UN data—it’s a global epidemic impacting both humans and the environment.
Calyxt’s CEO, Federico Tripodi, says as much as five percent of French fries and potato chips are uneaten because of the bruising and discoloration.
Unlike other mainstay GMO crops, the GMO potatoes are not designed to resist heavy applications of pesticides and herbicides, one of the biggest concerns about genetic modification.
But there is still reason to be concerned, says the Center for Food Safety, which alleges that “unintended” consequences could occur as a result of the potatoes, with possible impacts on other plants, animals, and the humans who eat the potatoes.
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