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Non-GMO Project organization adds Simplot potato to its “High-Risk” list

The so-called Non-GMO Project in North America yesterday (Oct 31, 2018) added the Innate potato developed by J.R. Simplot Company to its list of “High-Risk” crops. In a press release, the organization says the potato has been added to the High-Risk list of the Non-GMO Project Standard because a GMO potato variety is now “widely commercially available” in the United States.

In the press release, the organization says: To determine when a crop needs to be moved from the Monitored-Risk list to the High-Risk list, the Project uses an established set of criteria related to the likelihood of GMO contamination in the conventional and non-GMO supply chain. As a result of today’s move, products made with potato will now be subject to extra scrutiny before they can become Non-GMO Project Verified.

The Non-GMO Project says in the press release that the GMO potato developed by J.R. Simplot has been on the market since 2015, and was engineered through a method of gene silencing called RNA interference (RNAi). This genetic engineering technique results in a potato that hides the symptoms of blackspot bruising. Currently, GMO potatoes are being marketed under the Simplot “Innate” brand, found under the trademark White Russet, the organization says in its release.

According to the Non-GMO Project, the organization holds a firm position that anything produced with genetic engineering, like RNAi, TALEN or CRISPR, is a GMO. Although unpopular with biotechnology companies, this position aligns with a July 2018 ruling from the Court of Justice of the European Union, which determined that these new GMOs are subject to regulation under the EU’s GMO Directive.

The Non-GMO Project was created in 2007 by two grocery stores, The Natural Grocery Company in Berkeley, California and The Big Carrot Natural Food Market in Toronto, Canada. It says it’s committed to preserving and building sources of non-GMO products, educating consumers and providing verified non-GMO choices.

Read the full press release