Two US food giants have reportedly ruled out using the newly approved genetically modified Innate potato, even before the variety has gone on sale.
In November 2014, US breeder Simplot secured US Department of Agriculture approval for its generation one potatoes, which offer less bruising and a reduction in acrylamide.
Innate is predicted to have the potential to save 18,000t of potato waste each year in the USA due to less bruising.
It also reduces acrylamide, a substance found in a number of products and associated with cancer, by up to 75%. The chemical is produced naturally as a result of cooking starch-rich food at high temperatures, such as when baking or frying.
However, despite the GM potato not yet being commercially planted, there has been immense pressure on food companies, particularly McDonald’s.
These include the Organic Consumers Association petitioning McDonald’s chief executive Donald Thompson in an open letter while Food and Water Watch is running an online petition calling on the company to reject GM potatoes.
Amid the pressure, McDonald’s and major crisp manufacturer Frito-Lay have both confirmed they have no plans to adopt GM potatoes in the future.
“McDonald’s USA does not source GMO potatoes, nor do we have current plans to change our sourcing practice,” said a company spokesperson in an email to Capital Press, an agricultural website based in Oregon.
The GM debate also intensified in Europe last week, after MEPs voted for legislation that will allow individual member states to restrict or ban the cultivation of GMs on their territory.
This could lead to GM crops being grown in England, as Defra supports the right to grow them, while both the Welsh and Scottish governments are against the growing of GM crops.