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Chemicals on Potatoes

Q:

I am concerned about potato treatment with sprout inhibitor and other chemicals. Do you have any information on chemical use on Idaho potato or organic alternatives?

A:

A majority of the potatoes in the USA are treated with some form of sprout inhibitor. All of these chemicals are federally regulated and applied by licensed applicators. These preservatives are only applied to the skin of the potato and are washed off by the consumer before consumption.

Also, part of our Industry Relation Director’s job every month is to randomly pick 80 bags of potatoes from around the state and take them to a food quality lab for testing. We’ve been doing this for over 12 years now and it’s our way of making sure our potatoes are chemical-free and well within the limits.

I appreciate your concern and I get this same concern from many people. Another thing I like to tell them is that our farmers, when they cook dinner for their kids or grandkids, they take the potatoes from the very pile that you and I eat from. They don’t have a special pile of potatoes that they have saved for themselves or their family.

One more note…this website is great: https://www.safefruitsandveggies.com/pesticide-residue-calculator/. We have the safest food supply in the world and this website has a calculator that shows just how safe our fruits and veggies are.

So for me, according to this calculator, a grown person could consume 5,141 servings of potatoes in one day without any effect, even if the potatoes have the highest pesticide residue recorded for potatoes by USDA. Keep in mind that these inputs that farms use are very expensive and are only used if necessary. Margins are very small in this industry and every dime counts.