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Simplot seeks biotech potato approval

May 14, 2013 - Biotech potatoes may be returning to North America. J.R. Simplot Co. is petitioning the U.S. government to approve five varieties of biotech potatoes engineered not to develop black bruises.

Unlike transgenic varieties Monsanto commercialized in the 1990s using genes from synthetic bacteria to kill insect pests, Simplot's new Innate-brand potatoes use only potato genes.

Those in the industry remember Monsanto's ill-fated foray and say Simplot's major challenge in avoiding a similar fate is ensuring its product is acceptable among growers, processors and, ultimately, people eating it.

Simplot contends their new potatoes would allow growers to earn more money with less wastage from bruising, something that can affect up to five per cent of their harvest. They also say their biotech potatoes have lower levels of asparagine and sugars.

Besides the U.S. and Canada, Simplot is seeking approval in Japan, Mexico and South Korea.