Late this fall, the USDA approved for commercial use a genetically modified potato. These GMO potatoes, which were created by Simplot and named Innate, are actually the second generation of GMO potatoes to be approved by the federal government for commercial use. The first generation of the potato has been available commercially for growers now for over a year. It is expected that the second generation potatoes will get approval from the FDA, as well as the EPA, in January of 2017. Such approval will allow the seed to be cultivated and grown in the United States.
The Innate potatoes have been genetically engineered to deal with some specific issues facing the potato industry. They have reduced incidences of bruising and black spots. They also produce less of a potential carcinogen when fried (you know, the cooking technique used to make all those delicious french fries). The second generation potato will also be resistant to the pathogen that caused the infamous Irish potato famine. They will also be able to stay in cold storage for longer periods of time without incurring discoloration.
The Innate potato is unique, but not just because it is a GMO crop. It is the second genetically modified crop to gain commercial approval that offers benefits for the consumer, instead of just farmers.
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[This article was originally published on AGDAILY as a guest column.]