Genetically engineered potatoes may soon be approved in the U.S.
Food & Water Watch has launched a campaign that urges McDonald's to refuse to serve genetically engineered fries. The national consumer and environmental group is asking the fast food giant to "publicly refuse to source the 'Innate'-brand genetically engineered (GE) potato now up for regulatory approval by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The GE potato developer, J.R. Simplot, currently provides McDonald's with most of the potatoes it uses in its french fries."
McDonald's USA told the Chicago Tribune in a statement that, "Food biotechnology is allowed and permitted in the U.S. by local and federal government regulatory bodies, including the FDA and USDA." But "Currently, our potato supply does not include genetically engineered potatoes.
"McDonald's USA reviews, on a case-by-case basis, the status of regulatory approvals, customer acceptance, prospective consumer benefits, cost and potential safety and environmental impacts of specific food items as they become available to the market."
Food & Water Watch, which has also been active in the campaign to label genetically engineered food in the U.S. (as it is in much of the industrialized world), says McDonald's support on the issue would be instrumental because, among other things, it is the largest purchaser of potatoes in the U.S.
"McDonald's has built its reputation in part on its world famous french fries," said the consumer group's executive director Wenonah Hauter in a statement. "We're asking consumers to tell them not to harm that reputation by sourcing untested, unlabeled and potentially unsafe genetically engineered potatoes for a food that's heavily marketed to children."
While McDonald's response did not say whether it planned to use the potatoes, it stressed that "Our goal is quality food above all else."