USDA-APHIS Bulletin on Unauthorized Distribution of Genetically Engineered Petunias

On May 16 USDA issued this bulletin to its stakeholders regarding the unauthorized sale and distribution of genetically engineered petunias in the U.S.:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS) recently learned that several varieties of petunias genetically engineered (GE) to produce various hues of orange, red, and purple colored flowers have been imported into the United States from Africa, Asia, Central America, Europe, South America, as well as the countries of Australia, Israel, and Mexico, and distributed interstate without proper authorization as required by APHIS regulations at 7 CFR part 340.

Petunias are annual, ornamental plants that have no sexually compatible wild relatives in the United States, are not plant pests and are not listed as noxious weeds.

APHIS is working in close cooperation with breeders and growers represented by the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) and AmericanHort to ensure the implicated GE petunia varieties are withdrawn from distribution. Several distributors have already voluntarily removed GE petunias from distribution and destroyed them in accordance with APHIS guidance.

APHIS regulates the introduction (importation, interstate movement, or environmental release) of certain GE organisms. When a developer has collected enough evidence that a GE organism poses no more of a plant pest risk than an equivalent non-GE organism, the developer may submit a petition (request) to APHIS for nonregulated status. If APHIS grants nonregulated status, the GE organism may then be imported, moved, and planted in the United States without any further APHIS regulatory oversight.

On May 2, 2017, APHIS was informed by Selecta Klemm GmbH & Co that one of its petunia varieties – an orange petunia – was potentially genetically engineered and had been imported and moved interstate without required authorization by APHIS. This led to testing by USDA of numerous petunia varieties, which confirmed this particular variety and several others are indeed GE and meet our regulatory definition of a regulated article under APHIS regulations.

APHIS continues to work with industry to ensure unauthorized GE petunias are not distributed in the United States.

Consumers who may have purchased GE petunias need take no action, as the petunias are not considered to pose a risk to human health or the environment. Retailers, growers and breeders are being asked to voluntarily withdraw GE petunias from distribution. The petunia varieties that tests have confirmed to be genetically engineered so far include:

African Sunset
Trilogy Mango
Trilogy Deep Purple
Trilogy Red
Trilogy ’76 Mix-Liberty Mix
Fortunia Early Orange
Hells Bells Improved
Petunia Salmon Ray
Sweetunia Orange Flash

Testing is ongoing and other varieties may be added to this list. APHIS will distribute more information as results are confirmed.

AmericanHort Emphasizes Cooperation

AmericanHort has been working closely with the USDA-APHIS-BRS to facilitate industry coordination and accurate information-sharing. Seed and plant companies are also conducting their own independent tests and pulling varieties in question off the market.

As of the end of last week, varieties still in question included:

Pegasus Orange Morn
Pegasus Orange
Pegasus Table Orange
Potunia Plus Papaya
Go!Tunia Orange
Bonnie Orange, known as Starlet Orange in North America
Sanguna Patio Salmon
Sanguna Salmon
Trilogy Formula Mix
Perfectunia Orange
Perfectunia Mandarin
Confetti Garden Tangerine Tango
Confetti Garden Twist
Kwik Kombo Color My Sunset
Kwik Kombo Orange Twist
Cascadias Red Lips
Capella Red

AmericanHort emphasizes that it’s important to note that petunias are non-edible annuals, and there is no reason to believe that these genetically modified varieties pose any risk to the health of humans, plants, or the environment. Read Greenhouse Grower’s interview with Craig Regelbrugge of AmericanHort to see more details on how the industry has collaborated to work with USDA-APHIS-BHS during this challenging time.

Look for additional information on GreenhouseGrower.com as we receive updates.

Topics: , , , ,

Leave a Reply

More From Annuals...
Ball-Bed-with-Midnight-Snack-tomato_Cornell

November 18, 2017

2017 Cornell University Field Trials Results

Check out the 2017 field trials results for Cornell University in Ithaca, NY.

Read More
Berger-Equipment

November 17, 2017

How You Can Help Berger in Donating to Hurricane Harvey Victims (While Learning More About Plant Production)

Between Nov. 23-27, Berger will donate $1 for every download of its free technical plant production guides to hurricane relief efforts.

Read More
Pepper Cayenne ‘Red Ember’ (Johnny’s Selected Seeds)

November 17, 2017

Presenting All-America Selections’ Latest Round of Award-Winners

All-America Selections has announced the latest round of its award-winning varieties, each of which was trialed throughout North America by professional, independent, volunteer judges.

Read More
Latest Stories
Eason-New-Calibrachoa-Hi-Graft

November 14, 2017

Eason Horticultural Resources Introduces New Decorative…

Created by Hishtil Nursery in Israel, the new decorative forms of calibrachoa feature an 8- to 12-inch stem and come in four colors of calibrachoa blooms on top.

Read More
Helianthus Sunfinity (Syngenta Flowers)

September 3, 2017

Growing Tips for Helianthus Sunflower ‘Sunfinity…

This annual sunflower is a profuse bloomer with strong branching that produces multiple flowers per plant from spring to fall.

Read More

August 29, 2017

27 New Impatiens for Spring Color in 2018

Gardeners love impatiens because they are one of the few plants that offer stand-out, splashy blooms for shady areas, and in some cases full sun. There's no shortage of new introductions this year to choose from for your 2018 product mix. Here are 27 new and improved varieties to consider offering to your customers.  

Read More
Candy Tops Snapdragons Series (Sakata Ornamentals)

August 3, 2017

Five Characteristics Breeders Want in Top-Performing Sp…

New spring annuals have to provide something for everyone — longevity, durability, performance, and more — if they want to meet breeders’ high standards for market-worthy plants.

Read More
Petunia 'Headliner Pink Sky" (Selecta)

August 3, 2017

Why Eccentricity is the New Black in Spring Annuals

Consumers judge plants by appearance, color impact, and ease of maintenance, which is why retailers want new spring annuals that are novel standouts.    

Read More
Petunia 'Amore Mio' (Danziger)

June 8, 2017

AmericanHort Update on Genetically Engineered Petunias

AmericanHort is actively assisting affected plant breeders, distributors, growers, and retailers as the genetically modified petunia regulatory response continues. Since the last update, there have been several changes to the list of petunias confirmed or suspected of being genetically engineered and therefore unauthorized to be imported or sold. Also, the list of recognized laboratories for petunia variety confirmation testing has expanded. Most importantly, petunia varieties on the USDA-APHIS Biotechnology Regulatory Services (BRS) list require an APHIS Form 2000 for importation. APHIS also began requiring that any Petunia spp. Shipments, not including regulated GE varieties, must be accompanied by a list of variety names. This resulted in some inspection delays at the USDA-APHIS plant inspection station in Atlanta over the past two weeks. In response, AmericanHort has negotiated a more flexible approach with APHIS, and new guidance has just been posted for importing Petunia plants, cuttings, or seed. The new guidance allows […]

Read More

May 25, 2017

Genetically Modified Petunia Update: Breeders Take Swif…

Now that the initial shock of genetically engineered petunias is wearing off, breeders continue testing for tainted stock and look toward the future. On the consumer side, uncertainties remain.  

Read More

May 23, 2017

USDA-APHIS Bulletin on Unauthorized Distribution of Gen…

On May 2, 2017, USDA-APHIS was informed that an orange petunia variety was potentially genetically engineered and had been imported and moved interstate without required authorization by APHIS. This led to testing of numerous petunia varieties, which confirmed this particular variety and several others are genetically engineered, and meet the regulatory definition of a regulated article under APHIS regulations. APHIS continues to work with the industry to ensure unauthorized GE petunias are not distributed in the United States.

Read More
Petunia F1 African Sunset from American Takii

May 22, 2017

Genetically Modified Petunia Update: Question and Answe…

AmericanHort’s key role interfacing with the USDA on the recall of genetically modified petunias has helped the horticulture industry rapidly address the problem. Senior Vice President Craig Regelbrugge talks about recent updates, the impact on the industry, and where it goes from here.

Read More

April 25, 2017

41 New Vegetative Petunias From California Spring Trial…

With the abundance of new introductions for the 2018 retail season, we’ve made it easier for you to sift through them by separating out the vegetative petunias from the Northern sites, which includes selections from Westhoff Flowers, Sakata Ornamentals, Danziger, Proven Winners, and Syngenta flowers.

Read More
Zinnia Solmar Series (Floranova)

March 17, 2017

Phlox, Zinnias, and More for 2018 From California Sprin…

We asked breeders to share with us pictures and information on some of the great new annuals that you'll see at California Spring Trials 2017. They didn't let you down.

Read More
Cosmos ‘Apollo’ (Floranova)

March 14, 2017

Begonias, Dahlias, and More for 2018 from California Sp…

We asked breeders to share with us pictures and information on some of the great new annuals that you'll see at California Spring Trials 2017. They didn't let you down.

Read More
Limbo GP burgundy picotee

March 7, 2017

New Petunias and Calibrachoas for 2018 from California …

We asked breeders to share with us pictures and information on some of the great new petunias and calibrachoas that you'll see at California Spring Trials 2017. They didn't let you down.

Read More
Sea Breeze Catharanthus combo

December 2, 2016

Four Mixed Container Trends To Watch

Mixed containers are still one of the best-selling SKUs at retail. Pay attention to these four trends that are making their mark on multi-liner mixes and combination containers.

Read More

September 7, 2016

Check Out The Best Annuals For Attracting Bees And Butt…

Public interest in protecting bees and other pollinators has initiated a new market for flowers that are good food plants for pollinators. Here's a list of annuals Michigan State University Extension recommends that are attractive to bees and other pollinators.

Read More

September 6, 2016

10 Colorful Spring Plants For Sales In 2017

Trends with plants come and go, but color always sells. These spring crops for 2017 offer color choices ranging from bold and vibrant hues to understated, softer tones, and they’re versatile enough to be used in baskets, containers, beds, and borders.

Read More

August 6, 2016

Growing Tips On Petunia ‘Night Sky’ From Da…

Production tips for Petunia ‘Night Sky’ from Dan Chaney, Vice President of Production, at Ivy Acres.

Read More
NGI-SunPatiens-Compact-Hot-Coral-Sakata

March 23, 2016

P. Allen Smith Says SunPatiens Are Hero Plants For Cons…

Plants that ensure consumer success with disease resistance bred into their genetics, and ease of use in a variety of conditions, are heroes for gardeners, especially beginners, and they should be celebrated and supported to promote gardening success and interest. These are the messages the award-winning designer, gardening, and lifestyle expert P. Allen Smith wants the horticulture industry to know, with the recent announcement of his expanded partnership with Sakata Seed. In an exclusive interview with Greenhouse Grower, P. Allen Smith describes his expanded partnership with Sakata Seed to promote SunPatiens and why the now 10-year-old series helps both novice and expert gardeners to be successful. Smith also collaborates with Sakata to promote the HomeGrown Collection of vegetables. SunPatiens Set Consumers Up For Success, Smith Says As a plantsman first, Smith has extensively trialed SunPatiens in his gardens at Moss Mountain Farm in Little Rock, AR, and says he is […]

Read More