USDA approves Simplot's genetically engineered potato

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U.S. Department of Agriculture said Friday it has approved a potato genetically engineered by J.R. Simplot that is resistant to late blight, the disease that caused the Irish potato famine.

The russet Burbank potato can be stored at colder temperatures longer to reduce food waste. This is the second generation of what Simplot calls its Innate potato. It does not contain genes from other species like bacteria.

The tuber includes the first generation's reduced bruising and a greater reduction in a chemical called acrylamide, a suspected human carcinogen that potatoes produce naturally when cooked at high temperatures.

The second generation potato must still be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as safe for consumers. The FDA gave that approval for the first generation potato in March. Approval from EPA, which regulates genetically modified organisms, is also necessary.

In its petition for approval, Simplot said that the weight of evidence demonstrated that its potatoes are "unlikely to pose a plant risk."

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