Fruit and Vegetables

Organic seeds

Question: organic seeds

Hi, to sow aromatic plants in the home to use in the kitchen, I chose seeds from the firm -social biology seeds - what do you think? and how to be sure of using non-GMO seeds and not treated with substances harmful to health? thanks

Answer: organic seeds

Dear Francesca,
in Italy the legislation on the subject is broad and clear enough; if you buy organic seeds certified, in theory you should receive seeds actually from organic farming; the same applies to GMO seeds, which should clearly state their characteristics on the label; there are control bodies that deal with this: if the retailer wants to put on the label the phrases "organic seed" or "no GMO", he must necessarily have his seeds checked by a control body that takes care of these things. In any case, the seeds for aromatic plants, which are grown in the garden of the house, should not contain anything harmful, and should not be GMO plants. The seeds are generally treated with a fungicide, usually based on sulfur, to ensure that, once packaged, they do not develop mold or bacteria; in any case, this treatment does not prolong the germination of the seeds, and in fact many companies rather than using a fungicide, prefer to place the seeds in airtight bags, so that they do not develop mold or bacteria. After all, the seeds must not remain in these packages for years, because many of them, however, would lose their germination after short periods of time.
As far as GMOs are concerned, information on the web is often confused and not very clear. GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) are not simply hybrids between varieties of plates; to produce a GMO it is introduced into the DNA of a plant, of the DNA of another organism, so as to exploit its peculiar characteristics; for example, years ago they tried to make the bacon produce bacillum thuringensis, so that the plants were immune to the attack of some insects; or we have exploited some organisms completely refractory to herbicides, to create seeds for agriculture that give rise to plants that are not ruined by herbicides, used in agriculture. This type of biotechnology is expensive and it takes years of experiments to arrive at a genetically modified plant or seed that gives advantages. For this reason, the genetically modified seeds of which we are concerned are those used in agriculture, to produce cereals and other plants that are used in the food industry. Thus, there are various types of genetically modified maize seeds; but at the same time, it makes little sense to worry about genetically modified rosemary.
The same thing applies to transgenic seeds; in the 60s and 70s of the twentieth century, seeds were irradiated to give rise to genetic mutations in plants. In this way new varieties were created; also in this case, such irradiation operations were carried out on wheat, corn and soy; not on basil or geraniums; simply because of the different commercial interest that exists for the different seeds. So when you buy parsley seeds, it is very unlikely that you are faced with GMO or GM seeds, simply because it is very difficult for anyone to have had the economic interest in making parsley GMO.
Clearly, certified seeds are probably much safer; but even those in the supermarket are unlikely to have been treated with chemicals that are harmful to water or small animals.
Surely, however, all the plants we grow today in the garden and on the balcony are hybrids; this does not mean that they are GMOs or transgenic; simply man, over the millennia, has crossed two different varieties of melon (to give you an example), to obtain a more solid and early maturing melon. But there was no genetic exchange between melons and other organisms, such as animals or insects, or bacteria. This type of hybridization (between plants belonging to the same genus) also occurs in nature; so much so that, to give you an example, scholars are still unable to understand whether the lemon is a hybrid or not, as the hybridizations between citrus fruits occur with great ease, and this thing has happened for millennia, given that citrus fruits are cultivated by man for a long time.