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A Refreshing Look at the NEW Potato

August 18, 2014
The Capital Press ran an op-ed from Idaho farmer Lisa Patterson about new potato technology that will reduce black spot bruising and browning when cut and help prevent unnecessary waste. Patterson is a member of the Truth About Trade and Technology Global Farmer Network.

In her op-ed, Lisa addresses an issue faced by all moms, food waste.
"You go to the grocery store, buy a sack of potatoes, and come home to get that meal on the table fast — only to discover after peeling and slicing, you don’t have that clear, consistent color you were expecting. Instead you find internal bruising or black spots that you have to cut away. The wasted potatoes go in the garbage and you think, what a waste."

"Wouldn't it be nice if technology could prevent all of this hassle and waste?" asks Patterson. Fortunately for American consumers, there soon will be. She writes:
"A new potato that is the result of some exciting innovative technology is almost ready for market — and it’s developed to reduce black spot bruising and browning when cut.

"The science is simple. Take the DNA from wild and cultivated potatoes and insert it into the tubers of other potatoes that produce seed. The result is a hardier potato that resists browning and has less bruising which can come from harvesting, shipping or storing. It also equals a long shelf life without additives, which is important."

Lisa Patterson and her husband, Russell, live in Heyburn, Idaho. There they grow potatoes, sugar beets, barley and corn on a family farm in Idaho’s “Magic Valley.” Patterson argues that even with special care and the most modernized special potato equipment, it is almost impossible to prevent bruising.
"That’s why these new potatoes are so promising. Farmers who have worked with them in test plots say they have seen bruising reduced by half or more. The potatoes don’t taste any different. They are regular potatoes in every way, except they don’t bruise or brown as much.

"Because of this very innovative development, one estimate says we will save 400 million pounds of potatoes each year. If you realize the significance of growing more food on less ground and meeting the need for increased production of food for a growing population, you will agree with me — this is exactly what we need. It’s doing more with less and these potatoes are a giant step in the right direction.

"Less waste means more produce to feed a hungry world, how amazing is that?"

These potatoes are now at the end of a rigorous federal review. Food regulators have determined they are safe, grow just like other potatoes and do not pose any environmental risks to human health.

In June 2014, the U.S. Department of Agriculture wrapped up a second round of public comments. Approval for commercial use could come at any time.

Innate technology offers farmers yet another way to innovatively increase the quality and use of the potatoes that we produce.
"It will be beneficial to every person who loves eating potatoes and to every person who wants to do their part in sustainable food production."