FDA Approves Genetically Modified Innate Potato for Consumption

Posted on March 26, 2015

Innate Potato from Simplot

The FDA has approved genetically engineered potatoes, called Innate potatoes, made by the J. R. Simplot Company. The potatoes reduce the amount of bruising on the potatoes. They are also engineered to produce less acrylamide when the potatoes are cooked at high-temperature. The image above shows an Innate Russet Burbank potato (on the left) next to a conventional Russet Burbank potato 30 minutes after peeling.

The FDA says in a release that the potatoes are safe for human consumption. The FDA says Simplot engineered the Innate potato so that is has less levels of an amino acid called asparagine and lower levels of reducing-sugars. This is how the potato produces less acrylamide, which has been found to be a carcinogen in rodents.

David S. Douches, Ph.D. at the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences at Michigan State University is quoted in a press release from Simplot as saying, "The Innate potato is the most promising advancement in the potato industry I've seen in my 30 years studying agriculture. This potato delivers significant health and sustainability benefits, all by using the potato's own DNA. Such advancements haven’t been possible using traditional breeding."

Simplot says three Innate varieties are expected to be available in limited quantities beginning in 2015. The FDA also announced approval of Arctic Apples, which are genetically engineered so they brown more slowly than regular apples. The Arctic Apples aren't expected to be available until 2016. Critics of the genetically modified potatoes and apples argue that these products aren't necessary because browning is a cosmetic change.

Photo: J.R. Simplot Company