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US government approved 3 more Simplot GMO potato types for cultivation and sale

Approval of three second generation Innate potato varieties by the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration means Simplot is free to plant the potatoes this spring and sell them in the fall (Courtesy: Simplot).

The US federal government has given the final OK to three more types of potatoes genetically engineered by Boise’s J.R. Simplot Co. to resist Phytophthora - the pathogen that caused the Irish potato famine. They are safe for the environment and safe to eat, officials announced.

The approvals by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Food and Drug Administration last month mean Simplot is free to plant the potatoes this spring and sell them in the fall.

The approvals apply to Simplot’s second generation of its Innate line of potatoes. The first generation already is sold in stores under the White Russet label.

The company said the latest varieties will have less bruising and fewer black spots, enhanced cold-storage capacity and a lower amount of a potentially carcinogenic chemical that is created when potatoes are cooked at high temperatures.

Conventional potatoes can turn a dark color when cooked after they have been kept cold for too long, another problem the new varieties reduce, the company said.

Simplot also said the enhanced cold storage will likely have significant benefit to the potato-chip industry by reducing trucking costs.

The first generation did not include protection from late blight or enhanced cold storage.