BOISE — Canadian officials have deregulated the first generation of Simplot Plant Science’s Innate line of genetically engineered potatoes, making them available to sell or plant in their country.
On March 21, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency ruled Innate is safe for use in animal feed and isn’t harmful to the environment. Health Canada also ruled the potatoes are safe for human consumption.
Simplot spokesman Doug Cole said 20 million pounds of Innate spuds have been sold in the U.S. since the line was introduced last May.
“That number is expected to significantly grow over the next couple of years,” Cole said. “There’s more significant interest than anticipated.”
Cole said 4,000 acres of first-generation Innate seed will be planted this spring in the U.S.
The first Innate line introduced DNA from other potatoes, including wild varieties, into Ranger Russets, Russet Burbanks and Atlantics, giving them resistance to black-spot bruising, low sugars and low levels of a potentially harmful chemical, acrylamide. The spuds also won’t turn brown after they’re cut, which has proven to be enticing to food service professionals who can now save time with pre-cut spuds that don’t require chemicals to stay white. Cole said whole, fresh Innate potatoes have also been popular because black-spot bruising is a common defect food service businesses seek to avoid.
Cole said limited acres will be planted of the second generation of Innate, engineered with the original traits plus no sugar ends and late blight resistance, in anticipation of EPA approval in December.
“We haven’t submitted (generation two) to Canada yet, but we’re going to shortly,” Cole said.