Objective: To the 5 Ws of GMOs
First we read the following exert from the NY Times artcle ‘U.S.D.A. Approves Modified Potato. Next Up: French Fry Fans’
A potato genetically engineered to reduce the amounts of a potentially harmful ingredient in French fries and potato chips has been approved for commercial planting, the Department of Agriculture announced on Friday.
The potato’s DNA has been altered so that less of a chemical called acrylamide, which is suspected of causing cancer in people, is produced when the potato is fried.
The new potato also resists bruising, a characteristic long sought by potato growers and processors for financial reasons. Potatoes bruised during harvesting, shipping or storage can lose value or become unusable.
The biotech tubers were developed by the J. R. Simplot Company, a privately held company based in Boise, Idaho, which was the initial supplier of frozen French fries to McDonald’s in the 1960s and is still a major supplier. The company’s founder, Mr. Simplot, who died in 2008, became a billionaire.
The potato is one of a new wave of genetically modified crops that aim to provide benefits to consumers, not just to farmers as the widely grown biotech crops like herbicide-tolerant soybeans and corn do. The nonbruising aspect of the potato is similar to that of genetically engineered nonbrowning apples, developed by Okanagan Specialty Fruits, which are awaiting regulatory approval.
But the approval comes as some consumers are questioning the safety of genetically engineered crops and demanding that the foods made from them be labeled. Ballot initiatives calling for labeling were rejected by voters in Oregon and Colorado this week, after food and seed companies poured millions of dollars into campaigns to defeat the measures.
NEXT Students answered the following prompt:Would you choose to eat French fries or mashed potatoes made from this new G.M.O. potato? Why or why not? Explain in a minimum of 3 sentences.
¿Le optar por comer papas fritas o puré de patatas elaborados con esta nueva G.M.O. ¿patata? ¿Por qué o por qué no? Explica con un mínimo de 3 oraciones.
- Watch What is Genetically Modified Food?
- Read The Pros and Cons of GM food, have students fill out attached guided notes