Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), US Department of Agriculture Administrator, Kevin Shea, recently sent out a notice that J.R. Simplot Co.’s (Simplot) potatoes designated as InnateTM potatoes are no longer subject to APHIS’s regulations governing the introduction of certain genetically engineered organisms under title 7, part 340 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
InnateTM potatoes have been genetically engineered for low acrylamide potential. Acrylamide is a human neurotoxicant and potential carcinogen that may form in potatoes and other starchy foods under certain cooking conditions.
According to Simplot’s petition seeking a determination of nonregulated status of InnateTM potatoes, these potatoes are unlikely to pose a plant pest risk and should not be a regulated article under APHIS’s regulations.
After reviewing and evaluating comments received during the comment period, the analysis of field and laboratory data submitted by Simplot, references provided in the petition, and peer-reviewed publications, APHIS agreed with Simplot and determined InnateTM potatoes are no longer subject to APHIS’s regulations.
Despite the USDA’s ruling, McDonald’s recently stated that it will not use any of Simplot’s genetically engineered InnateTM potatoes. Simplot has been a major supplier of hash browns and French fries for McDonald’s, but McDonald’s has never sourced genetically engineered potatoes and does not intend to start. It is too early to determine whether other companies will also resist growing, using, and selling these potatoes despite the USDA’s ruling that the potatoes no longer require regulation.