Simplot Innate® Potato Events Gen2-W8, Gen2-X17, and Gen2-Y9

In 2016, Health Canada received a submission to allow the sale of Simplot Innate® potato events Gen2-W8, Gen2-X17, and Gen2-Y9. These three genetically modified potato varieties have lower levels of the amino acid asparagine and the sugars glucose and fructose for the purpose of reducing acrylamide formation when potatoes are cooked at high temperatures (e.g., baking, frying, etc.). In addition, these potato varieties develop reduced black spots from bruising and can resist late blight disease caused by the potato pathogen Phytophthora infestans.

In order to determine whether the Gen2-W8, Gen2-X17, and Gen2-Y9 potato varieties could be sold in Canada as food, the scientists at Health Canada conducted a scientific assessment that ensured these potato varieties are safe for consumption, still have all their nutritional value, and therefore do not differ from other potato varieties available on the market. Our scientists also needed to assess how these potato varieties were developed and whether they can be toxic or cause allergic reactions.

Scientists with expertise in molecular biology, microbiology, toxicology, chemistry, and nutrition conducted a thorough analysis of the data and the protocols provided by the applicant to ensure the validity of the results.

Following this assessment, it was determined that the changes made to the Gen2-W8, Gen2-X17, and Gen2-Y9 potato varieties do not pose a greater risk to human health than potato varieties currently available on the Canadian market. In addition, Health Canada also concluded that the Gen2-W8, Gen2-X17, and Gen2-Y9 potato varieties would have no impact on allergies, and that there are no differences in the nutritional value of these potato varieties compared to other traditional potato varieties available for consumption.

Health Canada’s assessment of Simplot Innate® potato events Gen2-W8, Gen2-X17, and Gen2-Y9 was conducted according to the Guidelines for the Safety Assessment of Novel Foods. The approach taken by Health Canada in the safety assessment of GM foods is based upon scientific principles developed through expert international consultation over the last 20 years with agencies such as the World Health Organization (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The approach taken by Canada is currently applied by regulatory agencies around the world in countries such as the European Union, Australia/New Zealand, Japan, and the United States.

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