This New USDA-Approved Potato Could Yield Less Carcinogenic Fries

The supplier of McDonald's French Fries just got the green light from the Department of Agriculture to commercially plant genetically-modified potatoes that resists bruising and produces less of a chemical that may cause cancer when fried.

learn more about Kate Taylor

By Kate Taylor

J.R. Simplot Company via Youtube
Simplot - The Magic of Modern Agriculture

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Genetically-modified French fries with a decreased chance of cancer? The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) approves but anti-GMO activists are more skeptical.

On Friday, the USDA gave the OK for commercial planting of a potato genetically engineered to reduce the amounts of acrylamide produced when the potato is fried. Acrylamide is a chemical suspected of causing cancer when consumed in products like French fries and potato chips.

The super-spud has been trademarked the "Innate potato" by J. R. Simplot Company, which, The New York Times reports, was the initial supplier of McDonald's frozen French fries in the 1960s and remains a major supplier to the fast-food chain today. If the potato goes on to sell commercially, it will be the only genetically engineered potato variety in the U.S. market.

Related: McDonald's Goes 12 Months Without U.S. Sales Growth; Execs Promise Customization and 'Convenient' Payments

In addition to cutting potentially-cancerous chemicals, the genetically modified potato resists bruising, making it a more economically advantageous choice for growers and buyers.

Of course, not everyone is excited about the potential new French fry source. The Center for Food Safety (CFS) and other anti-GMO activists argue that there has not been enough research into the genetic engineering tactics used to create the supposedly safer-for-you potato.

"Claims of health benefits by USDA and Simplot are short sighted, misleading, and in the light of the science, could actually be potentially dangerous," Elizabeth Kucinich, policy director at CFS, said in a statement.

Since the potato will only be planted in limited numbers for now, mostly for sale to supermarkets, food service companies and potato chip manufacturers, it will be at least a couple of years before most restaurant chains have the chance to buy the Innate potato. But if anti-GMO activists have their way, the potato will never make it onto the McDonald's menu, regardless of its potential to prevent cancer.

Related: This Gizmo Wants to Make Your Shower 'Smart,' Cutting Your Water Use In Half

Kate Taylor

Reporter

Kate Taylor is a reporter at Business Insider. She was previously a reporter at Entrepreneur. Get in touch with tips and feedback on Twitter at @Kate_H_Taylor. 

Related Topics

Editor's Pick

Have More Responsibilities at Work, But No Pay Bump? Use This Script to Get the Raise You Deserve.
Black and Asian Founders Face Opposition at All Levels — Here's Why That Has to Change
Business News

'This Made Me Physically Recoil From My Phone': Lingerie Brand Apologizes For 'Creepy' Ad Referencing Ryan Reynolds and Bras

Online lingerie retailer Harper Wilde is under fire for a bizarre sponsored post it has since pulled from Instagram.

Thought Leaders

5 Small Daily Habits Self-Made Millionaires Use to Grow Their Wealth

We've all seen what self-made millionaires look like on TV, but it's a lot more subtle than that. Brian Tracy researched what small daily habits these successful entrepreneurs adopted on their journey from rags to riches.

Business News

Viral Sensation 'Popcorn Guy' Has Earned a Gig at the 2023 Oscars

Jason Grosboll first went viral on TikTok for his theatrical method of buttering popcorn in a Texas movie theater.