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US approves 3 types of genetically engineered potatoes

U.S. officials say 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.

The approval by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration late the week of Feb. 24 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 a potato gene resistant to late blight, the pathogen that caused the Irish potato famine.

Fungicides have been used for decades to prevent the blight.

The genetically engineered potatoes will require half of the fungicide normally used by potato farmers.

The company said the GMO potatoes also resist bruising, have fewer black spots and are easier to store.

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