Updated: Mar 16, 2019
You don't have to worry about shopping for "non GMO" tomatoes because they don't exist.
We get questions about having "GMO free" vegetable plants every spring at Full Bloom Nursery and feel it's important to educate our customers on the subject. Even though the term has little meaning anymore, “GMO” has come to denote modern molecular genetic engineering methods used to achieve specific, targeted traits, from insect and disease resistant crops to apples that don’t turn brown. By this definition, there are no “GMO” tomatoes on grocery shelves, nor are there any "GMO" tomato seeds being sold. In fact, you cannot buy ANY type of GMO vegetable plants or seeds for your home garden. Period.
In 2016, Hunt's Ketchup ran an ad that immediately received backlash for this misleading claim: “No matter how far afield you look, you won’t find a single genetically modified tomato among our vines,” Hunt’s, the iconic company that makes preserved tomato products like ketchup, tomato paste and barbecue sauce, declared on December 26th, 2016. A video accompanying the announcement depicts a field of tomatoes and a message: “No GMOs in sight.” The backlash was swift, with hundreds of comments from consumers, farmers and scientists criticizing the company for fear mongering and pandering to the superstitions of misinformed extremists. “It's terribly unfortunate you're lying to consumers, Hunt's. GMO tomatoes are not available to the market and yet you're implying they are,” one critic wrote. (from Forbes Magazine article)
It is important to clear up the misinformation that you could end up with GMO vegetable plants or seeds when shopping at your local nursery or from online seed companies. You can't. When companies tell you that they have non-GMO vegetable plants or seeds, they are being disingenuous because yes they are GMO free but that's because they don't exist for the backyard garden market. This is a terrible marketing plan. It only further confuses folks who aren't experts on the subject.
So buy those vegetable plants with confidence that you don't have to worry about whether or not they are genetically modified. I have included some links below to factual information for further reading on GMO crops and exactly what they are. And by the way, if you eat cheese and drink soda, you are already consuming GMO ingredients.
Commercial crops likely to be GMO (commercial crops only, not available for backyard use)