Innate, the new genetically modified potato approved by the United States Department of Agriculture will be used commercially in the U.S. The potato was developed by the J.R. Simplot Company.
The reason for developing the GMO potato was to control the levels of chemicals found in potatoes which lead to the formation of acrylamide. Acrylamide is a potential carcinogen that is formed when some foods containing starch are cooked at temperatures that reach 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
Acrylamide is mainly found in high levels in French fries or potato chips. J.R. Simplot Company is one of the big suppliers of French fries for the American corporation McDonald’s.
Along with their low chances of getting bruised during shipping, the innate potato is modified to contain fewer chemicals that lead to the formation of acrylamide. This makes the potato beneficial for both the consumer and the seller.
Trials were conducted from 2009 to 2011 to approve the potato. These trials were made in eight states; North Dakota, Wisconsin, Washington, Idaho, Nebraska, Michigan, Florida and Indiana. The Food and Drug Administration along with the Environmental Protection Agency also analyzed the genetically modified innate potato.
90% of corn crops and soybean in the United States are modified genetically to withstand herbicides. It’s not uncommon in the U.S. to find crops that have been genetically modified. Regardless of this, the modification of wheat, vegetables and fruits has always been a touchy subject.
People were asked to give their opinions or concerns regarding the modified potato while the process of approval was being carried out. Numerous feedbacks from people or groups were received by the Department of Agriculture during the approval process for the innate potato. These comments were both negative and positive.
As claimed by a spokesperson representing the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the most positive comments were coming from individuals that were supporting the low risk of cancer represented by the innate potato while others were opposed against all genetically modified crops.
“Among those opposing the potato were individuals and groups broadly opposed to the development of GM crops in general, as well as to the regulatory framework surrounding genetic modification.”