The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved commercial planting of a potato that is genetically modified to resist bruising and to produce less of a chemical that has caused cancer in animals.
Boise, Idaho-based J.R. Simplot Co. developed the potato, and it was approved by the USDA Friday.
Simplot is a major supplier of french fries, hash browns and other potato products for restaurant chains like McDonald’s Corp.
The company altered the potato’s DNA so it produces less acrylamide, which is suspected to be a human carcinogen. Potatoes naturally produce the chemical when they’re cooked at high temperatures.
The potato is also engineered to resist bruising, which can cause black spots in the potatoes, making them less desirable to buyers.
The USDA has approved genetically modified forms of many other crops, including corn and soybeans.