Three types of potatoes genetically engineered by an Idaho company to resist the pathogen that caused the Irish potato famine are safe for the environment and safe to eat, Canadian officials said….
The approval by Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency means the J.R. Simplot Co. potatoes can be imported, planted and sold in Canada.
The three varieties of potato — the Russet Burbank, Ranger Russet and Atlantic — were approved by U.S. regulatory agencies in February.
The approval by Canada means the two nations can import and export with each other the potatoes that contain a gene resistant to late blight that led to the Irish potato famine.
The company said the potatoes contain only potato genes and that the resistance to late blight comes from an Argentine variety of potato that naturally produced a defense.
Simplot officials said the potatoes also have reduced bruising and black spots, enhanced storage capacity and a lower amount of a chemical that’s a potential carcinogen and is created when potatoes are cooked at high temperatures.
Fungicides have been used for decades to prevent the blight. Simplot said the genetically engineered potatoes reduce the use of fungicide by half.
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