GMO Policy

Burpee’s Policy on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)

April 2014

As America's oldest and most trusted supplier of vegetable and flower seeds and plants, Burpee has provided home gardeners with the very best open pollinated and hybrid varieties for more than 100 years. We take great care and pride in supplying seeds that are well suited for both conventional and organic gardens across the U.S., with quality and integrity foremost in mind. For that reason, we do not sell seed that has been genetically modified (GMO). Burpee has never bought or sold GMO seeds, and we have no intention of doing so in the future.

There is profound confusion by the public as to what genetically modified seed is and is not. We are here to provide facts that we hope eradicate that confusion, specifically as it relates to Burpee and our seeds.

It is important to understand that hybrid seeds are very different from those that are genetically modified. Hybrids seeds are purposely bred in the field to produce offspring that have the best traits of their parent plants. Through a process of careful and painstaking selection, our breeders hand pollinate varieties using controlled transfer of pollen from one parent to another parent, which results in a specific and consistent combination of desirable characteristics. Horticultural experts identify the traits of varieties from within the same species over a period of months and years and develop new varieties that are grown in trial gardens at Fordhook Farm in Pennsylvania. This is much the same process as is used by horse or dog breeders to produce offspring with the desired results.

GMO seeds are quite different, however. GMO varieties are not bred in a field or greenhouse; rather, they are developed in a laboratory setting using modern biotechnology. Techniques such as gene splicing are used to extract traits from different species to insert them in to another plant. According to the Non-GMO Project, “this experimental technology merges DNA from different species, creating unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacterial and viral genes that cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding'. To learn more about GMO varieties, we recommend a visit to: Non GMO Policy

Each year, more and more Americans discover the overwhelming joy and economic benefits of gardening at home. New gardeners often have questions about the features of different seed types and which offer the best qualities in terms of yield, disease resistance, size, and taste. Many of these answers can be found in the extensive library of resources housed at our website:

Burpee has always supplied safe, non-GMO hybrids, tried and true heirloom seeds, as well as certified organic varieties that are recognized as organic under the Oregon Tilth Certification, a subsidiary of USDA regulatory. Oregon Tilth Certified Organic (OTCO) provides a system that combines strict production standards with on-site inspections. OTCO is internationally recognized and provides legally binding contracts to protect the producers and buyers of organic products. It was also one of the first organizations to gain accreditation to begin offering organic certification under the USDA organic regulations.

Burpee is proud to have supplied American home gardeners with the highest quality, non-GMO seeds since 1876. We look forward to providing you with all the ingredients you need for a beautiful, bountiful garden.

George Ball

Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

W. Atlee Burpee & Co.