Organic Seed Companies Seek GE Classification for F1 Hybrid Seeds

Organic seed advocates are pressuring the USDA to classify F1 hybrid seeds as genetically engineered.


| May, 2014


Reposted with permission from Food Safety News.

It is spring planting time for farms, and, if hybrid seeds are being planted, chances are some might be genetically engineered (GE) and technically genetically modified organisms (GMOs), according to a growing movement in organic agriculture.

High Mowing Organic Seeds, an organic seed company based in Wolcott, VT, bans the sale of hybrid seeds produced by a commonly used industry method called cell fusion to manipulate plant DNA — because the seeds are viewed as GMOs.

“We do not support or sell cisgenic (within the same plant family) CMS cell fusion seeds as we believe the process is the same as GMO,” says Tom Furber, general manager of the company.

Other organic seed companies which have similarly adopted a policy of banning cell fusion-created F1 hybrid seeds, because company owners view the process as genetic engineering, are challenging the current USDA National Organic Program which permits cisgenic cell fusion hybrid seed in organic production.

“We’ve been committed to non-GMO and organic since our inception and always will be. We need to educate the market regardless of a USDA classification,” Furber says.

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