Do Idaho Potatoes Have Cancer Potential?

Newly harvested Shepody Potatoes in Canyon County, Idaho, USA.
In what appears to us to be a bungled marketing attempt for a genetically modified potato, the J.R. Simplot company raises the specter of cancer in potatoes currently being marketed to and by McDonalds.

The company claims the new “Innate” variety has less asparagine, which has the potential to become a carcinogen – acrylamide – when fried.

McDonalds has said it will not use the new variety in its fast food stores. Does that mean they will continue to use a potato that has the potential to become a carcinogen?

Why in the world would the leading potato product producer bring up the “C word” in an effort to market a new variety of potato? We probably haven’t heard the last of this one.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. LESS chance of cancer.

    Why would they not mention it?

    The airwaves are filled with “studies” of how to reduce the risk of cancer. This potato reduces that risk.

    Unfortunately there are too many whack-nuts that think science does not belong in the food industry, and corporations cave to misinformed customers.

  2. Is Simplot associated with Monsanto in any way? Because most of our food in just about any store is affected by Monsanto, chalk full of GMO, and fully capable of causing cancer by the time our children reach adulthood, or, causing other problems much earlier than adulthood. This billion dollar company has the capability of doing whatever it wants as far as creating man made foods and not having to be responsible for it, especially since we know all billion dollar corporations in America do not pay taxes relative to what they earn. These are people who get conservatives elected in every election, because they what someone who will cover their rear ends in Congress, and yes, people like Mike Simpson and Jim Risch have done just that.

  3. Wow! I never really thought about it before… but have you noticed? Almost everyone who gets cancer has eaten a potato! Coincidence? You be the judge! I might as well take up smoking, because I’m not givin’ up my fries!

    Our Famous Potato license plates will be a mark of shame from this day forward.

  4. everything causes cancer….hasn’t this been established? It’s been proven that eating the equivalent of a couple hundred pounds of saccharin for a year will give you the dreaded C

  5. I don’t think Simplot had McD’s in mind when developing this potato. Creating a longer “shelf life” on the potatoes is what Simplot was after. The fresh cut/value added is the fastest growing segment in the produce industry. Many restaurants want to provide fresh cut fries similar to Five Guys, In-Out and Boise Fry company, but the kitchens have not been set up nor have the space for a cut station. This article has a little more detail.

  6. I would bet my bottom dollar that being fried in vegetable oil has a higher probability of promoting cancer growth than anything in the potato itself.

    This cancer “link” looks to me like correlation, not causation. It would be interesting to see comparative studies with veg oil, coconut oil, tallow, palm oil, etc.

    But that’s the problem with cancer. There are so many variables that play into it and interactions between variables that it is hard to nail down anything as a cancer causer.

  7. I agree with Anthony. And I think people are tired of hearing about things that might possibly cause cancer. In addition, the people who oppose GMOs (whether right or wrong) REALLY oppose GMOs. Strikes me as a very good business decision on the part of McDonalds.

  8. One of the least nutritious foods a human can eat. Might as well eat wads of wet copy-paper. They are also destructive to the soil and require unnatural amounts of water and treatments to grow. Truly a paradoxical success story… and proof of profit over human-health at the USDA.

    The USA has higher rates of certain types of cancer than anywhere else on earth… might be due to good record keeping… might be our horrendously over processed garbage diet… might be for other/combo of reasons. One thing for sure… Cancer is a big money maker.

    As for modified crops. The wicked mad scientists are so sure of their DNA-modified creations some of the companies are trying to have the original “God-created” plants destroyed… also helps their profits to own the patent to the only seed.

  9. costaprettypenny
    Nov 18, 2014, 11:20 am

    I read the news release in both the Press Tribune and the Statesman and thought, Wow this guy is paid good money to know how to put a positive spin on bad news and blew it! Another thing comes to mind why would you spend millions in developing a product that there is no demand. Sure the packers and shippers will pack and ship a product that has a demand, I doubt the CONSUMER is demanding this product. I think the article stated an other company tried introducing a GMO potato a number of years ago and it failed. Go figure. PS: I raise Round-up-Ready alfalfa, it is a great product so I am not against a GMO. I would think there has to be a demand for it first in order to spend the time and money to develop it.

  10. Erico49, don’t you think the people who (really) oppose GMO already oppose McDonalds?
    And Walmart?
    And everything else in our corporate world…

  11. Good point Easterner. But I think that McD stands to gain or keep more customers who oppose GMOs than the the number that will be lost for fear that French fries cause cancer. I note that McD is making the case in their ads that the food they serve is real food.

  12. Potatoes are extremely nutritious.
    Every food that is “browned” is cancer causing. The browning is caused by carbonization and sometimes the result is cancer.

  13. I’ve heard that about browning, but do you really think that’s true? I’m actually asking, not just trolling. I mean most cooked foods have some measure of browning and have for thousands of years, but the cancer epidemic has only been around for 50 or 60 (as far as I know).

  14. I don’t know either, Anthony. However I would bet that if it is true.. it’s WAY down on the list of things that could or do cause cancer or the list of risky things you do every day that might kill you.

  15. Golden Arches:

    There is a whole series of how McDonald’s makes their stuff.

  16. Why are cancer rates so much higher today?
    The answer likely lies in the enormous amount of synthetic chemicals, few of which have ever been fully tested as to their effects on humans. Our nieborhoods are chemical waste dumps thanks to those striving for the perfect lawn via sprays and pellets.

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