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3-Food: US National Potato Promotion Board prepares for GE-free market

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-------------------------------- GENET-news --------------------------------

TITLE:  Potato industry encouraged to test seed for GMOs
        edited and sent by Agnet, Canada
DATE:   November 19, 2001

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Sales of U.S. dehydrated potatoes in Japan have dropped 37 percent since 
May, due to the detection of genetically modified potatoes in snack 
products produced from U.S. and Canadian dehy. "We’ve got to make sure the 
spuds we grow are certified to be GMO free,” said Jon Brownell, National 
Potato Promotion Board (NPPB) chairman. "The board is investing $600,000 to 
test for GMO and to rebuild the market share we’ve lost.”

Adding pressure, GMO (genetically modified organisms) labeling laws will be 
implemented in Japan and Korea in spring 2002. The NPPB is aggressively 
doing its part to preserve these markets, assuring the world trade that if 
they require a GMO-free product that the U.S. can provide it. The board 
urges process growers (dehy and fry) to do the same, by testing their seed 
during the winter grow outs. "If all growers of potatoes destined (or even 
possibly destined) for processing will plant seed certified to be GMO-free, 
the board and the NPC can use this as proof to the governments of Japan and 
Korea and to buyers worldwide that the U.S. is GMO-free in potato 
production. The board is working with the seed certification officials to 
put these systems in place,” the NPPB stated.

Many processors will require commercial growers to provide actual proof 
that the seed they used in 2002 was GMO-free, the NPPB stated. To date, a 
majority of processors have instituted intensive Identity Preservation (IP) 
practices to try and assure that their raw product is GMO-free. They are 
doing random sampling on the line to check the finished product.

"The U.S. stands to take advantage with increased exports of dehy and 
frozen potatoes to the European Union (EU) because of a projected crop 
shortfall in the EU. During the last shortfall in 1999 and 2000, the U.S. 
sold an additional 76,000 metric tons (11,800,000 cwt. raw equivalent) to 
the EU. These sales are not possible if there is a perception that U. S. 
product may contain genetically modified potatoes,” the NPPB stated.


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