Cavendish says no to GMO's

Cavendish Farms, a French fry plant on P.E.I., has decided it won't be processing genetically modified potatoes next year.

The company, owned by the Irving family of New Brunswick, says it is listening to the concerns of the large restaurant chains. The fast food outlets have been targeted by protesters for using the products.

Cavendish has sent letters to 12 P.E.I. farmers telling them it won't be buying genetically modified potatoes after this growing year.

Blaine MacPherson, who is the manager of raw procurement for the company, says only a small percentage of the potatoes bought from P.E.I. farmers are grown from GM seed.

MacPherson says, despite the decision, he feels the GM potatoes are good for the industry. "We've been working with the GMO product for the past 7 years in research plot," MacPherson says. "All (the)science works, particular potatoes are resistant to beetle or blight."

The people behind genetically modified potatoes say the plants are altered to resist natural enemies such as the Colorado Potato Beetle and late blight. They also argue that GM potatoes don't need as many chemical sprays to keep them healthy.

P.E.I.'s other large processing plant, owned by McCain's, has also made the decision to stop buying GM potatoes.