I and others at Burpee are asked occasionally about our alleged connection to Monsanto and
whether we sell GMO seed. We have even been accused of being owned by Monsanto on the
Internet. I’ve decided to address these questions and false allegations formally with the
hopes that someone out there in cyberspace may refer back to this post for information on these
issues—straight from the source.
For the record, I own W. Atlee Burpee & Co. Burpee is NOT owned by Monsanto. We
do purchase a small number of seeds from the garden seed department of Seminis, a Monsanto
subsidiary, and so do our biggest competitors. We do NOT sell GMO seed, never have in the past,
and will not sell it in the future.
Recently I was called on the telephone by a blogger from Chicago named Mr. Brown Thumb.
Hybrids are NOT "FrankenFoods"
Many people misunderstand the term ‘hybrid’ when it appears on seeds or plants, mistakenly
thinking it has something to do with GMOs or ‘genetically modified organisms’. But hybrids have
been used in everyday agriculture for hundreds of years and are not the product of modern
genetic engineering in a lab.
Rather, a hybrid is created when two different varieties of plants in the same genus—like
two tomatoes or two peppers—are combined in the field.
Many listeners have written to me over the years, worried about whether a certain seed
or plant they were interested in buying had been genetically modified. Finally! A question with
an easy answer: No.