Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Simplot cleared to grow a GMO potato variety

The United States Department of Agriculture has approved commercial production of a new potato variety that is genetically modified to resist bruising, and when cooking, produces less of a suspected human carcinogen found to cause cancer in animals.

The potato has been developed by geneticists and plant breeders working for J.R. Simplot Company at Boise, Idaho.

Simplot is a major supplier of french fries, hash browns, and other potato products for restaurant chains such as McDonald's.

So far the company has not applied for Canadian government approvals to grow the new variety.

It has a potato processing plant in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba which has an annual capacity of more than 300 million pounds (135 million kilos) of frozen french fries and formed potato products.

The plant began operations in 2003, and is among the most efficient facilities of its kind in the world.

It was built to accommodate future expansion that could double its initial capacity.

The Portage plant serves large quick-service-restaurant chains and other U.S. customers in the East, Southeast, and Midwest.