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Simplot Innate Potatoes pass voluntary FDA safety review
The first line of J.R. Simplot Co.'s genetically modified potatoes has been cleared by the Food and Drug Administration as safe for human consumption. The voluntary FDA safety review found that the potatoes are as safe and nutritious as conventional potatoes.

Simplot received clearance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture in November to grow and bring six varieties of its Innate brand potatoes to market. Unlike the FDA review, the previous review was required by law.

The company harvested 400 acres of potatoes in 2014 that will head to retail and food service test markets this summer.

Named "Innate" because they use genes only from other potatoes, not other species, Simplot's GMO potatoes don't brown after cutting and have reduced black-spot bruising. The Boise company says those improvements will increase farmer yields and reduce waste for customers. The spuds also have less naturally occurring asparagine, a chemical that can turn into a neurotoxin called acrylamide when cooked at high temperatures.

Simplot spent 15 years developing its Innate technology.

The company says Innate potatoes will sell in the fresh and potato chip markets. In addition, Simplot believes its non-browning potatoes will create a new market: "fresh cut," in which restaurants and other large-scale food producers buy prepeeled and sliced potatoes ready for quick food preparation. Innate's 14-day shelf life after cutting makes the new market possible, Simplot says.

The potatoes are not intended for fast-food chains such as McDonalds, a longtime customer Simplot customer. McDonalds has a longstanding policy that it doesn't use GMO potatoes.