The USDA announced a "determination of nonregulated status" for a genetically engineered potato variety developed by J.R. Simplot Company on their (USDA's) website this week. This new potato has some remarkable characteristics and presumably its creator would say offer some worthy improvements to our food supply.
Apparently the big gripe with our all-American-family-favorite, russet, is that the little brown tuber bruises easily and thus loses storage time in our pantries. But not so with this new spud, Simplot. Due to gene-splicing it doesn't bruise as easily. The 'taters have been tested by throwing them in a barrel, then bashed and battering them. The spud showed some signs of bruising-- but the injury was a whole lot less than the bruising recorded in comparison to our old traditional potato.
Plus, the 2015 potato is lower by half in a compound called acrylamide-- something which is naturally occurring in all of our much-loved 'taters and apparently by itself and in the huge quantities we'd never reasonably consume, might not be good for us. Acrylamide was demonstrated to be a carcinogen when fed in large quantities to some of those poor lab mice we test such things on.
Huh... well, there you go. Interesting stuff and pretty darn amazing what these genetic-food-seed-engineer folks can do. Wow.
I've no idea if this new potato's a good idea or not. Perhaps this spud could be a positive addition to our food supply? (Btw, I am being very open-minded right now.)
But I won't be buying this potato. Sorry, I won't. And it's not because the spud's created via the process of gene splicing, (they refer to this veggie-wannabe as an "innate" potato-- guess "gene splicing" sounds too creepy.)
In Mr. Innate Tater's favor, the genes spliced in were potato genes-- not blue jeans or hamster genes. And for me, a real layperson when it comes to genetic manipulation of our food sources, a 'tater gene in a 'tater sounds a whole lot less worrisome than those other options we've been reading about. So that's all good, I guess. But I still won't be buying Innate-the-'tater.
And of course it is super interesting that I won't be using MY consumer dollars, more impressive yet, McDonalds and Frito Lay are not rushing to embrace Simplot's gene-spliced potato either. The reason, (so says the author of this article in Cornocopia,) current gmo discussion is such that consumers are so fearful of this new technology that once labeled, they (McDonald's and Frito Lay) fear they'll lose Our consumer dollars.
(And I just love reading this!)
Well gosh darn it, that's just not fair, huh? Well, you know what? It's not! It's not right that just because something is labeled "gmo" that us (dumb, ill-informed, poorly educated, layperson-consumers) won't buy it. Even though this potato (or apple or salmon) could be better than all the billions of potatoes (or apples or salmon) that came before it/them. Potatoes could last longer in our pantries and a better, perhaps even more healthful potato could be available to us all.
Could. Agree, could.
But I will steer clear of this 'tater and hold tight to my consumer dollars, be this a worthy spud or not.
It is because of you, FDA, and all our food-monitoring organizations in the United States; you have not done your job. I can't trust you, I do not trust you, when you say a food is okay for me and for my dear family and the folks I prepare food for. You do not use good science, you don't use common sense.
But truth be told, it's not your fault. It's ours, it's mine. We have put people in charge of monitoring our food system and have tethered their good judgment. We've passed laws that allow corporate greed to manipulate the organizations put in place to protect our food system. We've messed up.
But the good news, due to consumer pressure sometimes corporations are forced to mend their ways. My voice is one of the consumer choir. When I read that consumers are changing the behavior of corporations, affecting the issues I care about-- in particular the food ones, the agriculture issues; when I read corporate reparations are being made to protect our soil, I'm damn happy.
And so, I embrace my inner consumer, I take my stand. My fists are raised with my dollars held tight and celebrate and claim my good old consumer power. And give off a hearty, "ha ha!"
So yes McDonalds and Frito Lay, you are choosing correctly-- stay clear of this new 'tater since the word's out it's a gmo spawned spud and we consumers don't want 'em. Were you to do so, you can be sure I won't be buying your fries or your chips. I don't trust that the research has been done. I don't expect that my health was the top concern when the green light was given to these new products. So nope, you'll lose my Whopper money.
Of course, McDonalds and Frito Lay may not be counting on me for many sales already; 'can't claim to have spent many dollars at the golden arches recently. But just in case you are asking, Ronald, this consumer thought to share...