29 June 2023
USDA reviews genetically-engineered potato plants.
THE United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently reviewed potato plants modified using genetic engineering to determine whether they presented an increased plant pest risk compared to similar cultivated plants.
Ohalo Genetics had modified a potato plant to produce an increased concentration of beta-carotene for altered nutritional value. Beta-carotene is an antioxidant that can give an orange, yellow or red color to carrots and other foods. The company cultivates genetically-engineered potatoes bred specifically for processing.
The USDA said the plants presented no special plant pest risk compared with other cultivated varieties of the same commodities.
Interested parties can view the regulatory status review request from Ohalo Genetics and APHIS’ response letters on the USDA website.
The agency said its responses were based on information from the developers, its familiarity with plant varieties, knowledge of the traits and understanding of the modifications.
Under the Code of Federal Regulations Title 7, part 340, developers may request an regulatory status review when they believe a modified plant is not subject to regulation. The USDA Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service reviews the modified plant and considers whether it might pose an increased plant pest risk compared to a non-regulated plant.
If the agency's review finds a plant is unlikely to pose an increased plant pest risk relative to the comparator plant, APHIS issues a response indicating the plant is not subject to the regulations.