Monsanto’s first ever GM crop, a type of genetically modified potato that was eventually derailed due to mass consumer pressure in the United States, is long gone, but now a GM version of the potato could be on its way to approval in the next year.
The J.R. Simplot Company, a smaller privately held food and agribusiness company, has recently been seeking approval from industry leaders to bring the GM potato back, and it may have found the support it needs from the National Potato Council despite strong opposition from some members.
According to a recent article from Capital Press, the National Potato Council’s board of directors has officially come out in support of GMOs, and is expected to vote on an official position on GMO potatoes on July 30.
The GM potato in question, dubbed Innate and created by J.R. Simplot, reminds many of Monsanto’s first-ever GMO, the NewLeaf potato, one that was eventually rejected by U.S. markets.
Consumers and scientists alike expressed widespread concern over the potato’s health and environmental effects before it was pulled in the year 2000.
And as shown in the documentary ‘The World According to Monsanto’ below, at least one major study, led by Prof. Aprad Pustzai and a team of 30 researchers on a budget of 2 million euros in 1998, found serious potential health risks in genetically modified potatoes.
Watch below starting at the 50:48 mark to see what they found:
New GM Potato Also Draws Concern
The new GM potato would “reintroduce GMO traits to the potato industry,’ but many in the industry are concerned as to how foreign markets will react.
The NPC’s Executive VP and CEO John Keeling wrote in a letter that there is “concern about the potential for GMO technology to disrupt potato exports valued at more than $1.6 billion,” and emphasized the importance of separating them from regular potatoes so that transparency can be preserved.
He also noted that the previous failure of Monsanto’s GM potato suggests that “approval of biotech derived products in all major international markets is needed to prevent significant market disruptions.”
Potato President Admits U.S. Financial Risks of GM Potato, Doesn’t Seem to Mind
Japanese markets in particular are an area of concern for NPC President Randy Hardy, according to the article, but reactions could well be worse for American farmers who export potatoes: resistance to GMOs is rising on every continent according to this recent report and import bans of GMOs have been enacted recently in nations ranging from Russia to France to China.
Hardy laments the possible loss of new markets according to the Capital Press article but still seems prepared to accept the GM potatoes.
“I’ve had a really hard time that a company can put out a product that can be harmful to my market, and I can’t do anything about it, but that’s the way it is,” Hardy said.
The new GM potato could be approved later this year and hit the market next year, unless another consumer outcry occurs.
P.S. You can voice your opinion on the GM potato by emailing these representatives: John Keeling Executive Vice President and CEO; firstname.lastname@example.org, Hollee Alexander, Director of Meetings and Industry Outreach ; email@example.com; Ryan Krabill, Senior Director of Legislative and Governmental Affairs; firstname.lastname@example.org; Mark Szymanski, Director of Public Relations; email@example.com
You can also sign a petition by clicking here: https://secure3.convio.net/fww/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=1470