McDonald’s Says NO to GMO Potatoes

Mc Donald’s may not have a stellar reputation for being picky about its ingredients, but the company has put its foot down on GMOs. Mc Donald’s’ largest potato supplier has a hot new GM potato, but the House That Ronald Built has no interest in using them.

From : A company called Simplot, an agribusiness conglomerate in the same league as Monsanto, is the main potato supplier for Mc Donald’s, which in turn is the largest purchaser of potatoes in the country. Simplot has recently come up with a new variety of genetically modified potato, which in the badly-named tradition of the SweeTango apple is called the Innate potato. That said, it’s a pretty interesting spud: most GMO foods are made by splicing genes from other plants in to make them resistant to pesticides, but that isn’t what Simplot’s doing at all.

The Innate potato is engineered to bruise less, keep for longer, resist browning when exposed to oxygen, and contain less of an amino acid called acrylamide (which was speculated back in 2002 to be carcinogenic ). None of those qualities are flavor- or texture- or vitamin-related, but still, that quest would seem to be not so awful for GMO protestors. The issue many anti-GMO activists have with genetically modified plants is that they encourage the use of pesticides, which can in turn lead to mutated bugs resistant to bacteria – not the Innate potato.

But that hasn’t stopped Mc Donald’s from rejecting it. A spokesperson told Capital Press that the company will not use the Innate potato, nor any other GMO potato. Simplot, for its part, says it’ll market the non-browning Innate potato in pre-sliced packaging like apples, which sounds a little weird to us, but who knows? Maybe the market is crying out for pre-sliced genetically modified potatoes.

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McDonald’s photo credit: from BusinessWeek

by Staff