Anyone who has paid attention to the news over the past few years has undoubtedly heard of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). A GMO is an ingredient found in some foods that has been genetically altered to have characteristics the food wouldn’t naturally exhibit. Most assume that fast food is chock full of these ingredients, but McDonald’s has managed to find one that even they won’t use.
The potato that won’t make McDonald’s GMO list
There’s a new GMO in town, and it’s called the ‘Innate’ potato. This potato has been genetically modified to resist bruising and reduce the level of acrylamide that is produced when the potatoes are cooked in hot oil. This GMO, produced by the J.R. Simplot company, may soon end up on tables around the country since the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently approved its use.
In a move that may surprise many, though, McDonald’s has stated that they will not be purchasing the potato to use for their amazingly tasty and unhealthy french fries. This becomes even more baffling when one realizes that the fast food chain actually admits, on its own website, that it uses GMO products in their foods.
It’s also not as if Simplot is some out-of-nowhere GMO producer that’s trying to land a contract with McDonald’s. The two companies have long been doing business together. In this situation, though, McDonald’s is bowing out.
McDonald’s refusing GMOs not unprecedented
Just because McDonald’s is refusing to accept the Innate potato, it doesn’t mean that they won’t end up in grocery stores or other fast food chains. Still, one wonders why McDonald’s would be the one to stand up against this particular GMO. In a company statement, McDonald’s simply said:
“McDonald’s USA does not source GMO potatoes, nor do we have current plans to change our sourcing practices.”
It should be noted, though, that this isn’t the first time the fast food giant has been front and center over GMO debate. Just a year ago, McDonald’s was hit hard from GMO opponents when Innate technology was first thrust into the public eye. We’re not sure why, but McDonald’s just doesn’t want GMOs in their fries. Their other foods? No problem. Whatever floats their boat.
The GMO problem
It should be noted that there is still debate over the use of GMOs. Many scientists and doctors, in fact, outright deny that there’s any scientific proof that genetically modified organisms cause any harm. In fact, they claim that GMOs can help solve issues like world hunger by creating pest-resistant crops and crops that can grow in extreme conditions.
It’s not as if GMO producers are setting out to kill people. In fact, the aforementioned byproduct of potatoes facing extreme heat, acrylamide, is a known human carcinogen that may cause negative health effects. The genetically modified potato makes an attempt at reducing that carcinogen.
This isn’t to say, though, that GMO opponents don’t have decent points. Enough so that droves of people turn out for the March Against Monsanto every year. In reality, this is a new technology that we don’t know much about, and most people aren’t even demanding that GMOs be banned. They’re simply asking for these foods to be labeled so that they know what’s going into their bodies.
Heck, McDonald’s is getting on the bandwagon. That’s pretty much game over. Put a label on it already.