Three new types of potatoes genetically engineered to resist the pathogen behind the Irish Potato Famine have recently been approved for use in the United States by both the Environmental Protection Agency and Food and Drug Administration.
Government officials have given privately held agriculture giant J.R. Simplot Co. the go-ahead to plant the new varieties as soon as this spring and market them in the fall, Associated Press reported.
According to the company, the potatoes contain potato genes resistant to blight derived from an Argentinian variety that is naturally protected from the pathogen.
The company also says that the genetically engineered potatoes will have reduced discoloring, enhanced storage capacity, and lower levels of potentially carcinogenic chemicals. Simplot also says that the potatoes don’t contain any DNA from unrelated organisms.
However, nonprofit The Non-GMO Project says that these new varieties don’t qualify as non-GMO.
"There is a growing attempt on the part of biotechnology companies to distance themselves from the consumer rejection of GMOs by claiming that new types of genetic engineering ... are not actually genetic engineering," the organization said in a statement.