I was aware of GMO corn, soybeans, alfalfa... yada, yada. (Well, I did know there are GMO seeds, but I just assumed they were for the afore-mentioned crops.) What I did not know is that Monsanto also produces and sells GMO seeds for yellow summer squash, zucchini, and at least one Acorn winter squash!
Recently I came across a very interesting post about Monsanto seeds here. The blogger describes a telephone conversation with Monsanto, and a list of the names of several varieties of GMO squash seeds produced by Monsanto. The key comment for me was:
Any summer squash with a Roman numeral behind the name is a GMO seed. (List is on her blog.)
One of the comments to that post said: "There are 2 GM sweet corns out there too, Triple PRO, and Atribute."
"Monsanto bought Seminis in 2005. It was estimated then that Seminis controlled 40% of the U.S. vegetable seed market and 20% of the world market—supplying the genetics for 55% of the lettuce on U.S. supermarket shelves, 75% of the tomatoes, and 85% of the peppers, with strong holdings in beans, cucumbers, squash, melons, broccoli, cabbage, spinach and peas. The company’s biggest revenue source comes from tomato and peppers seeds, followed by cucumbers and beans. Seminis' control of the seed market is much higher now. They boast: 'If You've Eaten a Salad, You've Had a Seminis Product'
The buyout was not the first time Seminis and Monsanto had done business. In 1997, Monsanto began to insert its Roundup resistant gene into one of Seminis’ lettuces, with an agreement to split the premium fifty-fifty. A 1999 Wall Street Journal article also noted that Seminis had received U.S. regulatory approval for selling disease-resistant genetically engineered squash and tomatoes with longer shelf lives and that the firm was working on using biotechnology to create sweeter peas and worm-proof cucumbers."
“You have to ask yourself why they (Monsanto) would decide to buy this seed company,” was the thought first shared by Rob Johnston of Johnny’s Selected Seeds, “Their Roundup herbicide patent is expiring, so their future profits are in the biotech traits…I think they’re going to push and see if consumers will accept it.” Source
When I buy seeds, I always buy OP or Heirloom seeds, but I never think to buy summer squash seeds because a 4-pack from a big box store is easy, and cheap enough to grow all the summer squash I need.
Now that I know there are GMO summer squash, I will buy OP seeds in the future... but I DO wonder what kind of seeds are used by the mega-seedling companies. In my area Bonnie's dominates the market and their labels are always just generic: zucchini, yellow squash, cabbage, cucumber, etc. (Bonnie states their F1 hybrids are GMO free, but not all their seeds are F1. Could a patented seed not be F1? I have no clue.)
And... now I wonder just WHO is financing Bonnie for this giveaway to every 3rd grader in the whole country (if the teacher registers the class)??
Bottom Line: Have I unknowingly been growing (and eating) GMO zucchini??