Big processors abandon GM potatoes

By Vicky Houchin

GENETICALLY modified potatoes are receiving a firm thumbs-down from North Americas biggest food processors.

McCain Foods of Canada has informed its suppliers that it will not be using GM crops in any of its products.

The move is in response to consumer demand and the company had no problems with GM technology, said a McCain spokesman.

A growing number of producers had been using Monsantos New Leaf Atlantic GM variety to protect against attacks of the Colorado beetle.

But McCain told Farmers Weekly its policy was to manufacture all products with non-GM ingredients.

US-based fast-food giant Burger King has also confirmed that no GM ingredients will be used in Burger King products.

Canadian-based reporter Stephen Leahy said the move amounted to a ban on GM potatoes which until now had not been segregated from conventional supplies.

“This is a huge blow to farmers in [areas] where potatoes are the main crop and where the first GM potatoes were grown,” he said.

Seed suppliers had been hit hardest by McCains announcement because orders were being processed, he said.

McDonalds, one of the biggest buyers of potatoes, may now follow suit, according to the Canada-based Frasers Potato Newsletter.

Another of North Americas biggest processors, Lamb Weston, is believed to be using up all its GM supplies before the end of the year, it adds.

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