The J.R. Simplot Company's genetically modified potato has been given a seal of approval from the U.S Food and Drug Administration, which said the vegetable—developed by Simplot Plant Sciences—is just as nutritious as its conventional counterpart.
In November 2014
, the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved Simplot's gene-altered potato for commercial planting in the United States. Meanwhile, a number of consumer and environmental groups continue to oppose GMO foods, arguing that the reviews are inadequate and pointing to what they call "cursory examinations" of company data. The Simplot Company's oldest business partner, McDonald's, said it has no desire to buy Simplot's GMO potatoes.
"McDonald's USA does not source GMO potatoes, nor do we have current plans to change our sourcing practices," the company wrote in a statement last November. ConAgra and McCain Foods have also said they don't want the GMOs—at least not yet.
"Regulatory compliance and consumer acceptance for the use of any new technology will guide our actions," McCain said in a statement on Friday.
On Friday, the FDA gave its approval to six varieties of GMO potatoes from Simplot. The agency also gave approval to GMO apples developed by Canadian-based Okanagan Specialty Fruits. According to this morning's New York Times
, Simplot's trade-marked Innate potato resists bruising and "also has been altered so that less of a potential cancer-causing chemical is produced when the potatoes are fried."
It could be years before Simplot's GMO potato is available on the mass market. Simplot has about 400 acres of Innate potatoes in storage from its 2014 harvest, and the plan is to deliver those potatoes to a select number of packers and shippers for use in small-scale test markets.