US: New GMO potatoes approved, controversy continues

USDA approved commercial planting of two types of GMO potatoes which resist late blight resistance. The approval covers J.R. Simplot Co.’s Ranger Russet and Atlantic varieties of the company’s second generation of Innate potatoes. The new version will also reduce bruising and black spots, enhance storage capacity, and reduce the amount of a potential carcinogen created when cooked at high temperatures. J.R Simplot submitted a request on March 3, 2016, for extension of a determination of nonregulated status for the two potato varieties and USDA held a 30-day public review and comment period from September 23, 2016 to October 24, 2016. It determined that the two potatoes were similar to the Simplot Innate W8 Russet Burbank potato and therefore, are unlikely to pose a plant pest risk. This approval comes in conjunction with the release of a study from The New York Times, finding that genetic modification in the U.S. and Canada has not accelerated increases in crop yields or led to an overall reduction in the use of chemical pesticides. The Times analyzed United Nations data to reveal that, when measured against Western Europe, GMO crops in North America gained no discernible advantage in yields. More