Answers for home gardeners about GMOs

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Photo: Andrew Bossi

I would like to clear up for home gardeners: there are no GMO home vegetable seeds available now, and there never have been. Unfortunately, some seed companies are trying to take advantage of some gardeners’ concern by advertising that they do not sell GMO seeds. No seed companies sell GMO seeds to home gardeners — whether the company publicly states it or not.

The implication by some seed companies that GMO seeds are available to home gardeners is misleading. It makes gardeners worry that they might be purchasing GMO seeds unless the company specifically describes their product as non-GMO.

There are good reasons GMO cultivars are not available to home gardeners. GMO cultivars are very expensive to develop. Generally, only large-scale agronomic crops (corn, soybeans, rice, cotton, etc.) generate enough money to make this worth doing by a seed company. The only GMO vegetable cultivars I can find are sweet corn, squash and papaya. But these are only available to commercial growers — not home gardeners. GMO seeds are highly regulated, and farmers must sign agreements with the seed company and follow EPA regulations when planting GMO crops.

It’s a violation of the EPA’s requirements to provide any genetically engineered seed to non-commercial growers. Even without EPA regulations, a seed company would never sell GMO seeds to home gardeners for use in backyard gardens. The unique genes inserted into the GMO cultivars would then be out of the control of the seed company, and the value of the exclusive GMO cultivars would be lost to the company.

Read the full, original article: What every home vegetable gardener needs to know about GMO seeds, hybrid and F1 hybrid plants

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