GM Petunias Mistakenly Enter U.S. – Sold by Sears and Other Retailers

Petunias are not naturally orange.

The African Sunset petunia sold by Sears and other retailers in the U.S. is genetically modified.  News of the illegal entry and subsequent U.S. investigation was released on May 14 by Greenhouse Management News.

USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is now working with breeders and growers represented by the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) and AmericanHort to ensure that all the implicated genetically engineered petunia varieties are withdrawn from distribution and destroy the illegal genetically modified petunias.

According to the Finnish Food Safety Authority, Evira, who first sounded the alert, “the orange color of the flowers has definitely been generated by means of genetic engineering. “Petunia flowers cannot be orange by nature. In the plants, we found ‘foreign’ material: genes that do not occur naturally in the plant’s DNA. We believe the orange color probably comes from a maize gene, a gene more often used to get a tone of orange. Whether it definitely is the maize gene or something else, remains to be proven. However, evidence for GM is irrefutable.”

Why worry about non-edible GMOs?  Why should we be concerned?