The US Department of Agriculture has announced its approval for the commercial farming of a new genetically-modified potato that was designed to resist bruising and the production of a carcinogenic chemical when it is fried.
Officially approved on Friday, the "Innate" potato was developed by Idaho-based J.R. Simplot Co., original supplier of French fries to McDonalds in the 1960s. The company continues to be a major supplier to the fast food chain today, as well as several other chains.
Potato producers have long been after a bruise-resistant potato, according
to a New York Times
report, as bruising during shipping and handling can become less valuable. The tubers were also engineered to produce less acrylamide
, known to cause cancer in lab animals, when fried.
The Innate potato is the latest genetically-modified organism (GMO) to be approved by the USDA and other modified crops include those resistant to pesticides or to drought. The bruise-resistance aspect of the Innate Potato is similar to genetically-modified, non-browning apples currently awaiting approval by the USDA, the Times reported.
Many people have voiced their skepticism about these unnatural food items - despite their potential for reducing starvation and blight. A study
published in April found that true, historical cautionary tales of famine weren't enough to convince most shoppers that GMOs are a good thing.