If the pink slime and the duck-feather-laced apple pies of Mickey D’s aren’t enough to keep you away from the fast-food chain for good, this just might do it: McDonald’s is poised to use genetically modified potatoes in their french fries, and you can bet it won’t be mentioned on the menu.
Anti-GMO groups are still fighting USDA approval, but agriculture giant J.R. Simplot — which has supplied McDonald’s potatoes since 1967 — is pushing to market five new GM potato varieties this year. These biotech potatoes are resistant to bruising, which could save farmers a pile of cash because they lose about 5 percent of their crops to bruises each year (and buyers like McDonald’s won’t accept potatoes with dark spots).
The potatoes also contain less of an amino acid called asparagine, which reacts with sugars at high heat to form a carcinogenic substance. So if these potatoes do pass USDA muster, prepare for expensive campaigns touting their health benefits.
But as with other GM foods, there’s simply no way of knowing the potential health or environmental risks of the biotech spuds, branded as “Innate” potatoes. With Big Agriculture sprinting to get their latest inventions on the market ASAP, there’s just no such thing as rigorous research in this industry. And that’s pretty scary for a product headed for billions of consumers.
That’s why Bill Freese of the Center for Food Safety told HuffPo,”The biotech approach is to change the food on a genetic level in quite frankly risky ways with inadequate regulation to adapt a crop to an industrial food system that’s really unhealthy in so many ways.”
Agreed. And there’s a petition out right now from Food & Water Watch to urge the USDA not to approve Innate potatoes. You can sign it here if you want to help keep GM potatoes out of restaurants and off of the shelves.