Genetically Modified Squash Frequently Asked Questions

1. How long has genetically modified squash been on the market?

In the United States, the appropriate government safety reviews and authorizations were obtained allowing the sale and consumption of genetically modified squash varieties in 1995 and 1997. In 1998, Canada granted authorization for importation and human consumption of genetically modified squash products.

2. Why was GM squash developed?

GM squash varieties were developed to provide resistance against up to three plant viruses, depending on the variety, that frequently infect commercial squash and zucchini crops. These viruses – Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV, a cucumovirus), Zucchini yellow mosaic virus (ZYMV, a potyvirus) and Watermelon mosaic virus (WMV, a potyvirus) – are major pathogens of all cucurbit crops (squash, cucumbers, melons and their relatives) and are present in most regions where these crops are grown.

3. What types of squash are genetically modified?

Yellow Straightneck, Yellow Crookneck and green Zucchini squash seed are available under Monsanto’s vegetable seed brand Seminis®. Non-genetically modified versions of these squash types are also available under the Seminis® brand.

4. How is GM squash regulated?

All GM plants are controlled by law for their sale and use. Their fruit, or products containing their fruit, may only be shipped to countries where they have been authorized for sale and consumption. Currently, the fruit or products containing fruit from the GM squash hybrids are only authorized for sale and animal and human consumption in the United States and for sale and human consumption in Canada. To reduce the potential for movement of GM virus-resistant squash fruit outside of the United States and Canada, they are only sold for fresh market purposes (i.e., not available frozen or processed).