Idaho spud giant bets on biotech potatoes
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Twelve years after a customer revolt forced Monsanto to ditch its genetically engineered potato, an Idaho company aims to resurrect high-tech spuds.
Tuber processing giant J.R. Simplot Co. has asked the U.S. government to approve five varieties of biotech potatoes. They're engineered to prevent bruising and reduce levels of a natural but potentially cancer-causing neurotoxin.
Simplot says it's accomplished what Monsanto did not: Creating a better potato, using nothing but potato genes. Monsanto's New Leaf product used genes from a microorganism, crossing the so-called "species line."
However, foes of genetically engineered foods remain alarmed.
Washington, D.C-based Center for Food Safety says Simplot's potatoes join a litany of other genetically engineered crops that don't face rigorous-enough USDA or FDA testing.
Simplot counters its spuds' characteristics are nearly identical to traditionally-bred potatoes.