Gone to Seed: Transgenic Contaminants in the Traditional Seed Supply (2004)

June 2005
Contamination of non-GE crops with DNA from genetically engineered crops is widespread, and federal standards need to be updated to protect our seed supply.

Seeds of traditional crops are contaminated with DNA from genetically engineered (GE) crops according to Gone to Seed, a 2004 report by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Laboratory testing of traditional (non-GE) seeds of corn, soybeans, and canola commissioned by UCS documents the presence of DNA commonly used in commercial GE crops.

These findings suggest inadequate federal standards to protect our seed supply and our food from harmful contaminants like those originating in pharmaceutical ("pharma") and industrial crops.


Gone to Seed found that seeds thought to be free of GE material are in fact pervasively contaminated. Based on these findings, we are concerned that the seed supply is inadequately protected from contamination by pharma/industrial crops.

UCS recommends that the federal government immediately take the following steps to address seed supply contamination and prevent seed contamination by pharma/industrial crops:

  • sponsor a follow-up study to determine the extent, causes, and impacts of the problem;
  • promptly revise the pharma and industrial crop regulations to protect the seed supply; and
  • commit to establishing a reservoir of pure, non-engineered seeds.

We Need Your Support
to Make Change Happen

We can transform the U.S. agricultural system to prioritize investments in healthy foods and farms —but not without you. Your generous support helps develop science-based solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future.