New GMO Potatoes Not Good Enough For McDonald’s But Ok For You?

Despite 64 other countries decisively banning or largely restricting GMOs, and polls showing that 9 out of 10 Americans support mandatory GMO food labeling, the FDA has given the green light to J.R. Simplot Co. (makers of the new GM potato) to begin stocking grocery stores with these unlabeled and untested spuds. Not even a petition of over 100,000 people to stop production of the potatoes, which was ignored by the USDA, or the refusal of both McDonald’s and Frito Lay to purchase these plant tubers, could stop the GM potato train.

Really? Not even McDonald’s will buy these GM potatoes?!? Wow.

Back in 1998, the first production of GMO potatoes  in Europe was stopped after a team of 30 researchers on a budget of around $4 million dollars found potentially serious health risks in genetically modified potatoes. Because we don’t have any long-term testing, we don’t know the true effects of GM potatoes on human health nor can we know the damage it may cause to the potato industry.

The National Potato Council admitted that the new GM potatoes could cause financial losses in the billions for American farmers: 

“(There is) concern about the potential for GMO technology to disrupt potato exports valued at more than $1.6 billion,” Potato Council CEO John Keeling admitted, further suggesting that there needs to be clear labeling of the GM potatoes.

Food & Water Watch has rejected the potatoes, saying the “USDA has inexplicably failed to undertake the legally required rigorous and overarching analysis of the GE crops’ impacts or reasonably foreseeable consequences.”

According to J.R. Simplot Co., they assert that the potatoes have been engineered to resist a pathogen that is responsible for causing the Irish Potato Famine and can help to reduce the amount of acrylamide (a carcinogen) when cooked. Can we trust this claim and, if true, at what expense to our health and our crops?

Gary Hirshberg, chairman of Stonyfield Farm and Just Label It, chimed in: 

“The approval of the Simplot potato is yet another reason that consumers should have a right to know what’s in their food and how it was produced. With the previous approval of other GMO potatoes, the Arctic apple and AquAdvantage salmon—the first GMO animal approved for human consumption—GMO foods are no longer relegated to the processed food shelves." Consumers should be trusted with the information to decide what food is right for their families. Companies should be proud of their products and support clear GMO labeling, just as Campbell Soup Company has done in announcing that it favors a national mandatory labeling system and will begin labeling its own products nationwide.”

In a letter to the J.R. Simply Co., the FDA said that it (their potato) wasn’t substantially-different in composition or safety from other products already on the market, and doesn’t require any more stringent vetting. Hmmm….I think the American people would welcome more stringent vetting on a product that may be harmful to both their health and the entire potato industry.

Just because the FDA approves a product, does not mean the public supports it. To the contrary... Remember the Salmon? The FDA received huge backlash for approving the frankenfish! The Simplot GM potato is yet another example of why we need to adopt GMO labeling in this country.

People want to know what they are eating and who is making their food. 


7 Steps to Avoid and Identify the New GM Potato:

•Buy Organic Potatoes

•Look on bag for the words “reduced bruising” in the top right 

•Look on bag for the words “fewer black spots” in the top right corner

•Pay close attention to the White Russet Potatoes

•The GM potatoes will have a link to the J.R. Simplot Co. website 

•Consider buying Red Russet or other types of potatoes instead

•Support your local organic farmer so we can get GMOs out of our food supply


To express your opinion about these new unlabeled GM potatoes, you can go to the maker’s Facebook page: 

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published