FDA Joins USDA in Approving Simplot GMO Potato 

click to enlarge J.R. Simplot Co.'s innate potatoes - J.R. SIMPLOT CO.
  • J.R. Simplot Co.
  • J.R. Simplot Co.'s innate potatoes

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave its ultimate blessing Jan. 12 to the J.R. Simplot Co.'s GMO potato.

It was November 2014 when the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved Simplot's genetically-altered potato for commercial planting in the United States, in spite of opposition from a number of consumer and environmental groups. In fact, 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 in November 2014. ConAgra and McCain Foods have also said they don't want the GMOs—at least not yet.

But now, the International Business Times reports that the U.S.F.D.A. reiterated (Jan. 12) that it considers Simplot's GMO potatoes to "be just as safe and nutritious as other, unaltered spuds." Doug Cole, director of marketing and communications for Simplot says the company still intends to roll out the GMO potato at restaurants and hotel convention centers sometime in 2017, in spite of McDonald's saying "no thanks."

Agri-Pulse News reports Simplot's next step is to complete its registration with the Environmental Protection Agency before introducing the GMO potatoes for sale in the U.S. marketplace. Simplot officials have promised that will be no "promotion, distribution or sale of these potatoes" until the EPA gives the go-ahead.

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