GMO

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved commercial planting of two types of potatoes that are genetically engineered to resist the pathogen that caused the Irish potato famine.

The approval announced Friday covers Idaho-based J.R. Simplot Co.'s Ranger Russet and Atlantic varieties of the company's second generation of Innate potatoes.

The company says the potatoes will also have reduced bruising and black spots, enhanced storage capacity and a reduced amount of a chemical created when potatoes are cooked at high temperatures that's a potential carcinogen.

Barry Crabtree / Flickr Creative Commons

During a talk he gave in Oxford, England in 2013, environmentalist and writer Mark Lynas apologized to the very audience he used to demonize: companies and scientists that work with genetically modified foods.

"As an environmentalist and someone who believes that everyone in this world has a right to a health and nutritious diet of their choosing," Lynas told the crowd, "I could not have chosen a more counterproductive path and I now regret it completely."

Courtesy: J.R. Simplot Company

Idaho-based J.R. Simplot Company is seeking federal approval to market a second genetically engineered potato.

Simplot won approval for its first modified potato late last year. The “Innate” potato, as it’s branded, is due to be the first genetically engineered spud on the market.

Simplot dubbed the genetically engineered potatoes “Innate” because the inserted genes come from other potatoes.

tanakawho / Flickr

Idaho lawmakers are requesting the federal government to ensure that all genetically modified food labels are voluntary.

The Senate passed the non-binding resolution by voice vote Friday.

Republican Sen. Jim Rice from Caldwell told lawmakers that a patchwork of state labeling laws would be too complex for manufacturers and could raise food prices.

Rice says the Food and Drug Administration should make the rules standard across the county.

The House has already passed the request 41-24 last week.

An Idaho lawmaker and farmer said the state should press the federal government to establish a national labeling system for genetically engineered foods -- before states create their own.

Supporters of a food labeling measure in Oregon have conceded defeat, more than one month after the election.

The latest vote tallies from Washington confirm voters have rejected an initiative to require labels for food containing genetically modified organisms.

Washington voters have rejected an initiative to require labels for foods with genetically modified ingredients.

In the food business, everything comes down to that moment when a shopper studies a label and decides whether to buy or move on. That’s why food producers have a big interest in Washington’s Initiative 522 on the ballot next month.

Washington agriculture researchers are investigating whether genetically engineered alfalfa was growing where it wasn’t supposed to in the eastern part of the state.

The US Department of Agriculture says stalks of genetically modified wheat found in a field in Oregon look to be an isolated incident. In an announcement Friday the agency says its own tests confirm the suspect wheat carries modified genes designed by agribusiness giant Monsanto.

Northwest farmers appear relieved that the government is calling the discovery of genetically modified wheat “a single isolated incident in a single field on a single farm.”

How Genetically Modified Crops Could Affect Weeds

Jun 13, 2013
EarthFix

After unauthorized, genetically modified wheat was found in an Oregon field, scientists have been trying to figure out what that means for wheat crops. Beyond farmers’ fields, a few pesky plants could also benefit as more genetically modified crops come into play.

An invasive weed called jointed goatgrass mingles with wheat in fields across the Northwest – and throughout the United States.

Carol Mallory-Smith has studied wheat and jointed goatgrass at Oregon State University for years.

Wheat
Molly Messick / Boise State Public Radio/StateImpact Idaho

Seed and herbicide maker Monsanto Co. plans to hire 24 people at a new center in southern Idaho where its scientists will study ways to boost wheat production.

The Capital Press reports St. Louis-based Monsanto has gotten the go-ahead from the Idaho Wheat Commission for the Wheat Technology Center in Filer.

Monsanto told Idaho officials in an e-mail this represents a "compelling opportunity... to apply our technology expertise in a global crop that can benefit from innovation."

How Scientists Test For Genetically Modified Wheat

Jun 3, 2013
Wheat Field
JayneAndd / Flickr Creative Commons

The European Union and Korea have said they will test U.S. shipments of wheat for genetic modification. That’s after last week's report that an unapproved strain of GM wheat developed by Monsanto was found on an Oregon farm.

There isn’t a commercially available test on the market that can identify genetically modified wheat. Scientists use a method called the polymerase chain reaction.

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