Genetically Modified food has been controversial for many years now, and has a long history of arguments between food manufacturing companies and people against ‘unnatural’ food. The new chapter in this story involves none other than a potato.
Simplot, a company known for its normal and genetically modified potatoes, has created a new product which they call ‘the Innate Potato’, because of how natural it is compared to other GM crops.
To make this potato novel and unique in the GM market, Simplot has created it using RNA interference technology. This method uses RNA strands from other potatoes with different characteristics and mashes them together, to create a sort of Frankenstein Monster potato. The result is much more appealing than the name suggests. By combining many positive qualities from different potatoes, you end up with a potato with numerous benefits. This particular potato, for example, has proven resistant to bruises, and produces fewer carcinogens when fried. Usually, when normal potatoes are fried, the amino acid asparagine can react to form acrylamide, a suspected carcinogen. When tested, Innate Potato produced up to 75% less acrylamide when heated.
Not only that, but since it only uses genes from natural potatoes, and doesn’t use genetic material from other species like bacteria, it is immune to many of the usual complaints of GM-haters, which dislike the idea of mixing genes between two opposite species.
In spite of the strong opposition, the Innate Potato has already been approved by the USDA, (the Unites States Department of Agriculture), so it could potentially be sold to customers anytime now. In fact, rumour has it that McDonalds, one of Simplot’s biggest customers, might use the potato in the near future to make their well-known McFries. This, of course, has caused a heated debate where some opposers of these potatoes are pressuring the fast food company to reject them. McDonalds’ decision concerning this matter is still unknown.
However, Simplot only plans to grow a limited number of these super potatoes for now, so regardless of McDonalds’ decision we’ll probably have to wait quite some time to taste them.
Until then, McFries are still delicious.