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Judge Orders Destruction of Genetically Engineered Beet Crop

Judge Orders Destruction of Genetically Engineered Beet Crop

A federal judge has ordered that hundreds of acres of genetically engineered sugar beet seedlings be destroyed because they were planted in violation of federal law. The ruling is a victory for plaintiffs Earthjustice and the Center for Food Safety, who sued on behalf of a coalition of farmers, consumers and environmentalists. The GE beet seedlings were planted in September with full knowledge and permission from the USDA. The beets are genetically modified by Monsanto to be “Roundup Ready”, meaning they are impervious to the weedkiller Roundup. Monsanto announced today that it will appeal the ruling.

Paul Achitoff of Earthjustice remarked, “USDA thumbed its nose at the judicial system and the public by allowing this crop to be grown without any environmental review. Herbicide resistant crops just like this have been shown to result in more toxic chemicals in our soil and water. USDA has shown no regard for the environmental laws, and we’re pleased that Judge White ordered the appropriate response.” A previous ruling found that the USDA was in violation of the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA), and an August ruling made any planting of the GE beets illegal until the USDA completes an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the GE beets; the USDA expects to complete the EIS in 2012.

The planting that is being destroyed is of stecklings, used to create seeds for future crops. Half the country’s sugar comes from sugar beets, and 95% of those beets are now genetically modified. Monsanto sells the herbicide Roundup and the patented GE seed to farmers, creating a dependence on, and further use of, the chemical herbicide. Roundup Ready crops have led to increased use of toxic herbicides and the development of herbicide-resistant “superweeds,” as well as contamination of conventional and organic crops.

Speaking about yesterday’s court order, Center for Food Safety’s Senior Staff Attorney George Kimbrell said, “The public interest has prevailed over USDA’s repeated efforts to implement the unlawful demands of the biotech industry.”  Monsanto general counsel Stivley stated, “The issues that will be appealed are important to all US farmers who choose to plant biotech crops. We will spare no effort in challenging this ruling on the basis of flawed legal procedure and lack of consideration of important evidence.”

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Photo of sugar beet crop © Stephanie Jaenicke via iStockphoto

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91 comments

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3:26PM PDT on Oct 13, 2013

Monsanto is and behaves like an outlaw corporation. Their decision to emphasize genetic engineering instead of pesticides, was suggested by Bain Capital, which may have also suggested that it take over all seed production in the world. Law suits against small family farms using seed that was contaminated by proximity to GM seeds is the height of dishonest. Outlaw Corporations must be targeted for special government scrutiny and eventually have their licenses revoked for working against the public interest.

1:27AM PST on Mar 1, 2013

Monsanto contains the seeds of the world's destruction, perhaps one day...no natural plant life left on the planet.

5:54PM PDT on Mar 21, 2011

"Superweeds"?!
I have enough problems with my regular weeds!

6:37PM PST on Jan 30, 2011

MONSANTO IS A BLIGHT ON THIS WORLD.

4:43PM PST on Dec 9, 2010

Ban all GE crops e seeds. Stop feeding those greedy bastards that are destroying our lands with toxic stuff!
I'm pretty sure that all of them eat organic at home...

1:48PM PST on Dec 7, 2010

Noted. Thanks.

3:33PM PST on Dec 5, 2010

GM foods are not proven safe, because Corporate America or the FDA says so. It only proves how much collusion there is between the corporate and the government.
Monsanto has had a very poor environmental history and its transgressions are well documented. FDA is a worthless federal entity, essentually rubber stamping whatever the corporate want.
A perfect collaboration, from their repective positions. Unfortunately, there are plenty of examples of "innovation" which came back and haunted society years later, and GM will be yet another example why, future generations may curse those who promoted this technology before comprehending its impacts fully.
I am reminded how favorably asbestos, processed foods and numerous medications were viewed,a few decades back, as "marvels"and then the consequence of each in the long term, now. Putting profit and personal gain, ahead of common sense and caution, IS one of the biggest problems with humanity, as well as its short sightedness which has and will continue to plague it until the species demise.

9:20AM PST on Dec 5, 2010

BAN all man-made modifications that go beyond the simple selection of next-generation seeds and crops to be planted! We must return to nature. While we are at it, ban anything that harms any sentient being. We must never commit acts against them at any point in their development. What is wrong with our thinking? Research any teachings of any master who has walked this planet & initiated select souls who have evolved enough to be reunited inner with the "Sound Current" "Word" "Logos" "Om" "Amen", "Tao" etc, & you will find that they ALL were vegetarians who taught to eat only natural fruits and seed-based plants that come from our Mother Earth. They all taught reverence for life, that this creation is all one, all of the "Vibration" that created and sustains us all...All meaning every last atom, all that is seen and unseen...we all are of this high consciousness, and we must honor and behave as such. To remove animals from their natural rights to live free of the cruelties of man is the worst karmic load a soul can choose to take on. It takes many many lifetimes to overcome even the killing or harm to one being. We must respect nature and creation as it is. Instead, we destroy and consume. We simply must stop tampering with the Natural state of this Creation.

6:57AM PST on Dec 5, 2010

Why only that crop, what about all the others?

4:03AM PST on Dec 5, 2010

Richard, I'll admit to not having read the entire bill (S-510), but your comment makes no sense when you said it has to pass the House and already has passed CONGRESS. Congress consists of two houses.........the Senate and the House of Representatives. Did I mis-read what you wrote, or did you just not word it correctly?

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