Three types of potatoes genetically engineered to resist the pathogen that caused the Irish potato famine are safe for the environment and safe to eat, federal officials have announced.
The three varieties are the Russet Burbank, Ranger Russet and Atlantic which were previously approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The approval by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration late last week gives Idaho-based J.R. Simplot Company permission to plant the potatoes this spring and sell them in the fall.
The company said the potatoes contain only potato genes, and that the resistance to late blight, the disease that caused the Irish potato famine, comes from an Argentine variety of potato that naturally produced a defense.
Erin VanDyke lives on her family farm and has more than 35 years of hands-on experience with the use of livestock guard dogs for predator control. On their farm, Jan and her family use corgis as herding dogs and have raised Shetland sheep, Fainting goats, Morgan and Trakehner horses, and historic breeds of chickens and turkeys. Erin is also an active beekeeper.