The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is inviting public comment on a request from J.R. Simplot Company to extend deregulation to a potato variety, designated as Snowden Z6 (Z6 potato), the USDA says in a news release on June 24. The variety is genetically engineered for late blight protection, lowered reducing sugars, low acrylamide potential and reduced black spot bruising.
APHIS previously reviewed and deregulated these traits in another potato developed by Simplot, referred to as Innate W8 Russet Burbank potato (W8 potato), the release notes. APHIS reviewed Simplot’s extension request and prepared a preliminary plant pest risk similarity assessment (PPRSA), finding that Z6 potatoes are not more likely to pose a plant pest risk than the previously deregulated W8 potatoes.
APHIS reached a Record of Categorical Exclusion Determination (ROCED) based on its PPRSA. APHIS is making the PPRSA and deregulation extension request available for public review for 30 days. APHIS is interested in receiving comments regarding potential environmental and interrelated economic impacts as it relates to the National Environmental Policy Act, the release says.
APHIS will carefully review all feedback on these documents received during the public comment period. If APHIS does not receive any new scientific information, they will announce the extension of deregulation to Z6 potatoes on its website.
Beginning on June 25, members of the public will be able to submit comments through July 27, 2020.