Biotechnology continues to help protect America’s food security.
Recently, the EPA and FDA gave the all-clear to three types of genetically engineered potatoes made by Idaho-based J.R. Simplot Co. The GE technology helps the crops to resist the pathogen that was at the heart of the Irish Potato Famine of the 19th century.
The approval now allows the seed to be cultivated and grown in the United States.
According to reporting from The Associated Press, the resistance to late blight in the new potatoes comes from an Argentine variety of potato that naturally produced a defense.
The three new varieties of potato — the Russet Burbank, Ranger Russet and Atlantic — had already been approved by the USDA. They “have the same taste and texture and nutritional qualities” as conventional potatoes, Simplot spokesman Doug Cole told The Associated Press. Simplot has had its engineered potatoes approved in the past.
Amanda Zaluckyj, a blogger and AGDAILY columnist under the name The Farmer’s Daughter USA, has written about the impact that potatoes such as these could have on the food supply and on public perceptions toward agricultural technology.