Scientists make a better potato A demonstration field of a new potato, genetically engineered to resist the pathogen that caused the Irish potato famine, at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Mich. (J.R. Simplot Co. via AP/Thinkstock)
Scientists make a better potato
Lexile

A potato genetically engineered to resist the pathogen that caused the Irish potato famine is as safe as any other potato on the market. This is according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
 
The Irish famine was between 1845 and 1852.  The famine caused about a million deaths.
 
In a letter to Idaho-based J.R. Simplot Co., the FDA said the potato isn't substantially different in composition or safety from other products already on the market. It doesn't raise any issues that would require the agency to do more stringent premarket research.
 
"We're pleased and hope that consumers recognize the benefits once it's introduced into the marketplace next year," Doug Cole, the company's director of marketing and communications, said.
 
Before the potato is marketed to consumers, it must be cleared by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Cole said. That's expected to happen in December.
 
The U.S. Department of Agriculture approved the potato in August.
 
The Russet Burbank Generation 2 is the second generation of Simplot's "Innate" brand potatoes. It includes the first version's reduced bruising. But it has less of a chemical produced at high temperatures.  Some studies have shown it can cause cancer.
 
The second-generation potato also includes an additional trait. The company says it will allow potatoes to be stored at colder temperatures longer. That will reduce food waste.
 
Haven Baker, vice president of plant sciences at Simplot, said late blight remains the No. 1 pathogen for potatoes around the world. It was the cause of the Irish potato famine.
 
"This will bring 24-hour protection to farmers' fields. And, in addition, has the potential to reduce pesticide spray by 25 to 45 percent," Baker said.
 
The late blight resistance comes from an Argentinian variety of potato that naturally produced a defense.
 
"There are 4,000 species of potatoes," Baker said. "There is an immense library to help us improve this great food. By introducing these potato genes, we can bring sustainability and consumer benefits."
 
The company has already been selling its first generation of Innate potatoes to consumers. Its 2014 crop was sold out and the company is selling the 2015 crop of about 2,000 acres.
 
Cole said those potatoes were mostly grown in Idaho and Wisconsin. They are being sold in supermarkets across the nation.
 
But one of the company's oldest business partners, McDonald's, has rejected using any of Simplot's genetically engineered potatoes.
 
Cole said the company plans to introduce the potatoes to other restaurants and hotel convention centers as precut and pre-peeled potatoes.  He said the resistance to bruising makes them a good product.

Filed Under:  
Assigned 98 times
CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why must the potato be cleared by the Environmental Protection Agency?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (26)
  • ryanh-1-hol
    1/26/2016 - 02:39 p.m.

    Since when did science make potatoes

  • ben0424-yyca-byo
    1/26/2016 - 06:46 p.m.

    Having a genetically modified potato is great. The potato is confirmed to be safe, and according to this passage, it has a wide variety of differences than the average potato. I wonder at what other things we can modify. Many things can be modified to be better and I hope that it will be soon.

  • william1108-yyca
    1/26/2016 - 07:23 p.m.

    WOW! I never knew that scientists actually make better potato's then others. But also some potato's killed some people. But the potato's look the same. I don't see the difference. Maybe one day I will eat one of the scientists potatoes.

  • jasminec-6-bar
    1/26/2016 - 07:53 p.m.

    The potato must be cleared by the Environmental Protection Agency because, " some studies have shown it can cancer." The EPA must confirm that the benefits from this new potato are verified. Although the potato "isn't substantially different in composition or safety," it must still be put through rigorous test, to ensure the safety of the new product.
    This article was very interesting because it shows how much the human race has advanced.

  • annabel1226-yyca
    1/26/2016 - 08:32 p.m.

    How are you going to make a better potato? When I grow up to be an astronaut I want to plant a potato on Mars. I want to grow a potato because I want to see if you could plant potatoes in Mars. In Martian the movie there was guy who grew a potato on Mars, I hope that plan works if you are in Mars. I hope my dream could come true. I think it will be really fun to grow potato on Mars because Mars is really dry that nothing can grow but if we grow a potato then it will be a new discovery.

  • andersona-sau
    1/27/2016 - 02:20 p.m.

    Because some of the potatos caused a famine. i think. i forgot.

  • aidenk-dal
    1/28/2016 - 11:40 a.m.

    this one is cool, but it is a little weird. i think it is a very interesting topic, and i would definetly reccomend it if you are a economic person

  • wileyi-sau
    1/28/2016 - 02:44 p.m.

    I think that they the potato's removed by the Environmental Protection Agency because the potato's are taking over the area that they are being grown. It's so weird that potato's are now science. I think it's just weird that they made potato's science. Dose anyone else think it's weird?

  • bowmanm-sau
    1/28/2016 - 02:58 p.m.

    This is a very interesting topic. It was fun to learn about but confusing and kinda boring. But I really like learning about this kind of stuff!!!!

  • meyern-sau
    1/28/2016 - 02:59 p.m.

    why must the potato be cleared by the environmental protection Agency ? I Have No Idea Dont Ask Me

Take the Quiz Leave a comment
ADVERTISEMENT