Earlier this year, Chipotle announced that it was eliminating all genetically modified ingredients. While McDonald’s doesn’t run on the same health platform as Chipotle, Modern Farmer reports that the fast food titan is refusing to buy a new GM potato from its supplier, Simplot.

Simplot’s new spud is called the Innate, and it’s designed “to bruise less, keep for longer, resist browning when exposed to oxygen, and contain less of an amino acid called acrylamide (which was speculated back in 2002 to be carcinogenic),” according to Modern Farmer. 

What it hasn’t been engineered to do is resist pesticides, which is one of the main concerns of GMO detractors since that allows farmers to use pesticides without hesitation. Still, the country’s largest potato purchaser won’t touch it, telling Capital Press that it does not currently source GMO potatoes and has no plans to start.

McDonald's says it won't source GM potatoes for its fries. (Photo: McDonald's)

McDonald’s says it won’t source genetically modified potatoes for its fries. (Photo: McDonald’s)

Tom Gillpatrick, executive director of the Food Industry Leadership Center at Portland State University, speculates in Capital Press that the company is choosing to steer clear of controversy. “This whole GMO thing is so polarizing. It really doesn’t seem to matter what the facts are,” Gillpatrick told Capital Press. “McDonald’s does not need to be the poster child for people attacking it.”

Even though GMO labeling bills were recently defeated in Oregon and Colorado, it’s a hot-button issue and public sentiment around it is strong. More and more high-profile companies are minimizing use of GM ingredients, including Ben & Jerry’s and Whole Foods. Now that McDonald’s is doing the same, other fast food chains may very well follow.

[via Modern Farmer]