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Don’t Modify My Genetics!

edamame_sproutAll of our edamame is what is known as “non-GMO” – that is to say, the seeds are not genetically modified. (GMO is an abbreviation for genetically modified organism.) Specifically, GMO crops have been manipulated in the laboratory so the plants incorporate characteristics that are not possible with traditional plant crosses. More disturbingly, many modern crops have something called “transgenic” traits – that is to say they have incorporated genes in to the plant, but the new genes are not even plant genes! More on this later, but for right now, I have to be perfectly clear about something: the American Sweet Bean Company edamame is GMO free. We do not plant any edamame that has been genetically altered, and we test our crop annually for accidental contamination. 

So is genetic manipulation of food crops a bad thing? Maybe. Or maybe not. This is a case where we are at the mercy of scientists and a few large agribusinesses to tell us they have things under control and well thought out. We can believe this or not, but this much is certain: the release of GMO crops is so widespread in the US; there is little chance we will ever get back to a “non-GMO” seed base. 

Recently the US government agreed to allow Monsanto to proceed with the release of genetically modified alfalfa. This is a disturbing change in the landscape, since alfalfa is the fourth-most common crop in the US. Farmers use alfalfa plantings to make “hay” – and this hay (or forage, if you want to add to your vocabulary!) is used to feed dairy cattle and other livestock. Farmers who insist on feeding non-GMO plants to their cattle will need to be more careful from here on. Some have suggested that GMO alfalfa will spell doom for the organic dairy industry. 

This is a deep, complicated, and difficult topic. But we are committed to remaining “genetically pure” with our edamame. If you are against GMO crops, our beans are a safe have for you. If you support GMO crops, well, we might not agree with you, but you can still enjoy the tasty goodness of our American edamame!