New Potatoes Contain Beneficial Traits, Late Blight Resistance
BOISE, Idaho–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Food and Drug Administration has completed its food and feed safety
assessment of the J.R. Simplot Company’s second generation of Innate®
potatoes. The FDA concluded that these Russet Burbank Generation 2
potatoes are not materially different in composition, safety, and other
relevant parameters, from any other potato or potato-derived food or
feed currently on the market. Simplot will still need to complete its
registration with the Environmental Protection Agency for these potatoes
before introducing them for sale in the U.S. marketplace.
The FDA’s safety consultation was voluntarily requested by Simplot and
comes shortly after the U.S. Department of Agriculture also deregulated
the same potatoes. These federal clearances involved a thorough
technical review and a public comment period that drew the support of
leading potato research universities in the U.S. and Europe.
Simplot’s second generation of Innate potatoes contains four benefits of
relevance to potato growers, processors and consumers: reduced bruising
and black spots; reduced asparagine; resistance to late blight
pathogens; and enhanced cold storage capability. These benefits were
achieved by adapting genes from wild and cultivated potatoes.
Academics consulted by Simplot estimate that the Innate late blight
resistance trait can result in a 25-45% reduction in fungicide
applications annually to control late blight. Reduced asparagine means
that accumulation levels of acrylamide can be reduced by up to 90
percent when these potatoes are cooked at high temperatures. In
addition, lowered reducing sugars enable cold storage at 38°F for more
than six months without the build-up of sugars, which maintains quality,
and which cannot be achieved until today.
Based on these academic estimates, if all Russet Burbank potatoes
in the United States had Innate Gen. 2 traits, it is estimated that
potato waste (in-field, during storage, packing, retail and foodservice
for fresh potatoes) could be reduced by 986 million pounds. In addition,
CO2 emissions could be reduced by 146 million pounds, water
usage reduced by 17 billion gallons, and a total of 495,000 fewer
pesticide acre-applications would be needed.
“The Innate Gen. 2 potato is a major advancement in the potato
industry,” said Duane Grant, potato farmer and owner of Grant 4D Farms
in Rupert, Idaho. “Late blight disease can and does wreak havoc on
organic and conventional potato crops and now we have an effective
solution that should reduce fungicide use and reduce the millions of
pounds of wasted potatoes each year.”
Late blight, the disease responsible for the historic Irish potato
famine, is caused by a fungus-like pathogen and still has the potential
to devastate world potato crops. Innate Gen. 2 potatoes contain a gene
from a South American wild potato species that provides natural
resistance to certain strains of the pathogen.
“We’re excited to continue momentum on our Innate technology platform,”
said Haven Baker, vice president and general manager of Simplot Plant
Sciences. “In our first two generations we have addressed the issues of
plant disease, health and quality by harnessing the strongest traits
within the potato family and we’re now set to address global potato
The J.R. Simplot Company, a privately held agribusiness firm
headquartered in Boise, Idaho, has an integrated portfolio that includes
phosphate mining, fertilizer manufacturing, farming, ranching and cattle
production, food processing, food brands, and other enterprises related
to agriculture. Simplot’s major operations are located in the U.S.,
Canada, Mexico, Australia, and China, with products marketed in more
than 40 countries worldwide. The company’s mission statement is Bringing
Earth’s Resources to Life.
For more information: http://www.SimplotPlantSciences.com
Note: Simplot’s Generation 2 potatoes remain regulated as
Plant-Incorporated-Protectants by U.S. EPA, and there will be no
promotion, distribution or sale of these potatoes until they are
registered by the EPA.
Doug Cole, 208-761-8354