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Organic Mutagenic/Cell Fusion Hybrid Seeds Are Genetically Engineered

For Related Articles and More Information, Please Visit OCA's All About Organics Page, Genetic Engineering Page and our Millions Against Monsanto Page.

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.

In organic farming, transgenic (between different biological families) GE is banned, but cisgenic (within the same species family) GE used in the cell fusion process is permitted under USDA organic regulations.

By international organic certification standards, cell fusion is classified as genetic engineering, but these standards established by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) are being ignored by the United States, Europe and other countries.    

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