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Open Letter to McDonald's CEO Donald Thompson to Commit to Never Use Simplot's Genetically Modified Innate Potato

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Genetic Engineering page and our Millions Against Monsanto page.


November 20, 2014

Dear Mr. Thompson,

On behalf of more than a million concerned consumers, I am asking that you state publicly that McDonald’s will never, under any circumstances, source Simplot’s new genetically engineered “Innate” potato, or any other genetically engineered potatoes.

The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) and other groups recently petitioned you, as McDonalds CEO, to reject a GMO potato newly approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Less than a week after the launch of the petitions, ABC News reported “McDonald’s Won’t Buy Simplot’s GMO Potato.”
Some groups declared victory. But we found your statement to be less convincing.

Here’s what your spokesperson told the Idaho Statesman:

"McDonald's USA does not source GMO potatoes, nor do we have current plans to change our sourcing practices."

That statement does not go far enough. It’s true that you do not currently source GMO potatoes. But that would be true for any restaurant or other buyer, because there are no GMO potatoes available yet to purchase.

Your statement also said that McDonald’s has no “current plans” to change your sourcing practices. That statement leaves the door open for a future change of plans. Once GMO potatoes, Simplot’s or someone else’s, are widely available, McDonald’s may change its plans.

About 15 years ago, your company responded to consumer pressure McDonald’s Corp. and announced McDonald’s would not buy Monsanto's genetically engineered New Leaf potatoes, a potato variety genetically engineered (by Monsanto) to produce its own insecticide.

We’re asking that your company make the right decision again. Especially since this new potato may be even more dangerous than the last.

Credible, independent scientists have studied the RNAi technology used to create Simplot’s Innate potato. Due to their research, they’ve warned that this technology is untested and inherently risky. Even the USDA’s own scientists have called for independent safety testing of this technology before it is sent into our food system and environment.

You did it before. Please do the right thing again and reject this new and risky GMO potato, and issue a public statement promising that McDonald’s will never use genetically engineered potatoes in its restaurants.


Ronnie Cummins

International Director, Organic Consumers Association

For more information, contact Katherine Paul, Organic Consumers Association, 207.653.3090