Are you familiar with the Greek mythology Pandora’s box?
Pandora was forbidden to open a box, and when she did it released previously unknown evil into the world. Today opening Pandora’s box means someone does something which causes a lot of problems that were previously non-existent or unknown.
What does this have to do with genetically modified potatoes? The scientist who created them call them Pandora’s potatoes. Why? Because playing with nature and not paying attention can cause unknown consequences.
Gmo potatoes are definitely something you will want to avoid when possible. Here are 6 good reasons.
The Creator Fears the Impact on Human Health
A scientist named Rommens created the genetically modified potato for the company Simplot, one of the world’s largest potato processors.
The goal was to create a potato that would not bruise, or develop black spots and to reduce the amount of asparagine in the potato. This is to make the potato healthier when frying.
He wrote the book Pandora’s Potatoes about the potatoes he created and why he regrets his work on them.
Only when it was too late did he realize that he
- Failed to see the unintended side effects to the potatoes.
- Failed to acknowledge at the time that in his daily testing he saw that genetically modified potatoes were not as healthy as normal potatoes.
“none of my modifications improved potato’s vigor or yield potential. In contrast, most GMO varieties were stunted, chlorotic, mutated or sterile, and many of them died quickly, like prematurely-born babies.” – Rommens
He believes his potatoes are the worst GMOs ever commercialized. He would call them Pandora’s potatoes if it was up to him.
Long Term Risks
The potatoes have been modified using a process called RNAi interference. This is how they silence or suppress particular genes that cause black spot brushing on the potatoes.
There are two possible unintended effects associated with RNAi GM plants:
- Off-target gene silencing – the sRNA binds the mRNA of a gene that is not the intended target gene; and
- Silencing of genes in non-target organisms – the sRNA binds the mRNA of a gene in an organism that is not the intended target organism
Scientists focused on short-term benefits in lab experiments. They did not consider the long-term downsides that show up in the field. It was the same assumption made for chemicals like DDT, PCBs and Agent Orange. Decades later the effects of these chemicals are still present.
The fact is that trying to control pathogens with single genes is not useful. Pathogens evolve too quickly. While it takes 2 or 3 decades for insects and plants to overcome resistance to a gene, it takes a few years at most for pathogens to do the same.
In general when it comes to genetically modified crops studies link them to
- Allergic Reactions
- Fertility Problems
- Organ Damage
- Livestock Fatalities
The Advantages Don’t Outweigh the Downsides
Genetically Modified Potatoes
- Yield less crop
- Produce deformed potatoes
- Are smaller
- Don’t prevent bruises but conceal them.
- Lose their sensory qualities when fried. In other words french fries lose the flavor, texture, color, and aroma qualities.
- They potentially spread diseases
- GMO potatoes accumulate toxins that normal potatoes don’t have.
The potatoes contain genetically unstable traits which are being lost over time. So whats the point of these traits if they get lost after a few generations?
According to Rommens two of the traits no longer work and others are in the processing being lost or weakening. Don’t forget that disease-resistance genes can be broken by evolving pathogens at any time.
These potatoes are genetically modified to reduce the amount of asparagine in them. The reason for less asparagine is so when fried the potato will produce less acrylamide, a toxic cancer-causing substance.
The potato itself isn’t carcinogenic, but rather the method of cooking creates a substance that is a carcinogen.
Browning is nature’s most visible way of letting you know a product is rotting. Masking the bruises and black spots can cause consumers to unknowingly ingest unhealthy and toxic produce.
GMO potatoes contain at least as many bruises as normal potatoes, but they are genetically modified to hide them. Concealed bruises accumulate certain toxins that compromise the quality of the food.
By silencing the gene these toxic side effects occur:
GMO Potato Toxin #1 – Alpha-aminoadipate: The first side toxic effect of the trait that prevents discoloration was “a massive increase in the levels of alpha-aminoadipate, also known as aminoadipic acid.” This alarmed Rommens because alpha-aminoadipate is a known neurotoxin with links to “a variety of diet-related diseases, including diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and cancer.”
GMO Potato Toxin #2 – Tyramine: The second toxic side effect of the trait that prevents discoloration is the accumulation of the abnormal amino acid tyramine in damaged potato tissues. According to Rommens, when a potato’s damaged tissues turn black they can be identified and trimmed off by processors. In the case of GMO potatoes, “the bruises don’t discolour and thus are not removed during processing. This means that consumers may eat bruised tissues and be exposed to tyramine.”
Most people can metabolize tyramine, but some people can’t. People who take monoamine-oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) antidepressants like fluoxetine, citalopram and sertraline are unable to metabolize tyramine. In these people, tyramine will accumulate in the blood and potentially cause high blood pressure, raising the risk of heart attack, stroke, kidney failure and other problems.
GMO Potato Toxin #3 – Chaconine-Malonyl: The third toxic side effect of the trait that prevents discoloration is an increase in the levels of chaconine-malonyl. “Little is known about this compound,” Rommens says, “but it is a derivative of glycoalkaloid toxins. These can cause numerous health issues, including nausea, vomiting and neurological effects.”
GMO Potato Toxin #4 – Pathogens: The fourth toxic side effect of the trait that prevents discoloration is “the concealment of various tuber infections. So consumers may eat potatoes that look perfectly healthy but actually contain fungal or bacterial pathogens. These pathogens often produce toxins and allergens.
Potatoes Are The Top Food Eaten In The US
It’s likely we will all be exposed to GMO potatoes whether we like it or not.
- French Fries – They are everywhere, at many restaurant and fast food places
- Baked Potatoes
- Mashed Potatoes
- Hash browns and other breakfast foods
- Potato chips
Should we be worried? Do we need to go great lengths to avoid potatoes? Probably not, but nobody knows the long term consequences of eating GMO potatoes. It’s better to be mindful and keep GMO potatoes in mind when consuming any potato product. After all, nobody predicted the microbiome changes from consumption of foods sprayed heavily with roundup. This is a huge deal and the consequences are showing up decades later.
You Won’t Be Able to Tell if You are Eating a GMO Potato
GMO potatoes varieties include Innate, White, and Hibernate.
They are advertised with
- enhanced disease resistance
- enhanced uniformity
- enhanced healthiness.
You can’t visibly tell the difference between a genetically modified potato and a regular potato. They are not labeled as genetically modified. So there is no easy way to tell if you are buying or eating a genetically modified potato.
Classified High Risk by the Non GMO Project
Potatoes Are Classified as “High Risk” For GMO Contamination.
What does this mean? GMO potatoes are now widely available. Any potato or product containing potatoes will be subject to extra testing and verification before being approved by the non gmo project certification.
We don’t yet know the consequences of eating gmo potatoes. The facts are out there and the scientist who created the gmo potato tells us that Pandora’s box has been opened.
Most of these articles and the book are from 2018. That means there has been a few years already for these potatoes to get out on the market and and into the store, and to contaminate normal potatoes and products. So you need to be vigilant starting now!
Super Simple Guide to Clean Eating
Hidden Health Dangers: A Former Agbiotech Insider Wants His GMO Crops Pulled
Dr Caius Rommens replies to Simplot on GMO potato controversy
The Creator of GMO Potatoes Reveals The Dangerous Truth – Exclusive Interview
GMO Potatoes Are Here – How To Avoid Them