Lenape Potatoes are round, slightly-flattened potatoes with light-buff skin.
They were meant for processing into potato chips (aka crisps in the UK.)
Lenape Potatoes were developed jointly by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Pennsylvania State University from a cross between Delta Gold potatoes and a potato referred to as “B3672-3”.
During development, the potato was referred to as “B5141-6”.
The new potato was released to growers in 1967.
“In 1967, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a new potato variety named Lenape, which the agency believed to be potentially valuable for making potato chips. In fact, its formal press release on the variety carried the following headline: “A New Potato Unusually High in Solids and Chipping Qualities.” In the USDA announcement, the Wise Potato Chip Company of Pennsylvania was singled out by name for helping in evaluating and testing the Lenape. Within the next year or so, the variety was being planted for seed potatoes in the United States and Canada.” — Doyle, Jack. Biotechnology and the Food Supply: Proceedings of a Symposium. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 1988. Potential food safety problems related to new uses of biotechnology. Accessed August 2022 at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK235027/
Withdrawal of the Lenape cultivar
Within a few years of release and cultivation by growers, Lenape was withdrawn owing to high glycoalkaloid levels Schaffner, Don. Risks posed by potatoes at the end of the shelf life. Safety risk assistance for private company. August 2021. Available upon request from author., which can be toxic.
“In 1969, two Canadians discovered quite by accident (one of them got sick after eating some Lenapes) that this particular variety had very high levels of glycoalkaloids.
After a round of controversy and some resistance to pulling the variety off the market, the USDA and the Pennsylvania Agricultural Experiment Station issued a joint statement in February 1970 withdrawing the Lenape from further agricultural use. In its announcement, USDA noted that the Lenape was found to contain approximately twice the level of glycoalkaloids carried by commercial varieties of potatoes. “This variety is no longer recommended for planting,” said the announcement, “and no basic seed stocks will be released in the future.” In addition, USDA warned that “Lenape variety potatoes are not suited for boiling or baking.” The consumption of whole Lenape potatoes prepared this way, explained USDA, “might produce discomfort or even illness.” It was this possibility, said the agency in its announcement, that caused it to withdraw the variety.” — Doyle, Jack. Biotechnology and the Food Supply: Proceedings of a Symposium. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 1988. Potential food safety problems related to new uses of biotechnology. Accessed August 2022 at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK235027/
Lenape has, however, been used as breeding stock a good deal since the withdrawal.
|Schaffner, Don. Risks posed by potatoes at the end of the shelf life. Safety risk assistance for private company. August 2021. Available upon request from author.