The FDA just gave another thumbs up to a type of genetically modified food: potatoes.
Unlike GMO salmon, which took 20 years to be approved, the potatoes seemed like an easy decision. The Associated Press reports that the potato isn’t all that different from your regular, non-modified potato “and it doesn’t raise any issues that would require the agency to do more stringent premarket vetting.”
While the FDA just approved this new and improved potato from J.R. Simplot Co. in Idaho, the U.S. Department of Agriculture already gave its green light in August. These frozen fries of the future are now just waiting for approval from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, forecasted for December, before you can munch on them.
The Russet Burbank Generation 2, as Simplot is deeming the spuds, will last longer at colder temperatures. Also, they are harder to bruise and are designed to resist the same pathogens that caused the Irish potato famine in the 1840s. Simplot’s vice president of plant sciences, Haven Baker, tells the AP that the potatoes also have the potential to reduce the usage of pesticides by 25 to 45 percent. Not everyone’s into these frankentaters, however. McDonald’s, the land of never-rotting fries and a partner of Simplot’s, has passed on the Russets.
According to USDA figures, potato production has grown from nearly 32.2 billion pounds in 1975 to 43.7 billion pounds in 2013.