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Judge Bans Gentically-Modified Beets

Judge Bans Gentically-Modified Beets

A federal judge has revoked the government’s approval of genetically engineered sugar beets (engineered by Monsanto) in a ruling that marks a major upset for the chemical corporation. The decision, by Judge Jeffrey S. White of Federal District Court in San Francisco, appears to essentially ban the planting of the genetically-modified (GM) sugar beets until the Agriculture Department prepares an environmental impact statement and approves the crop again, which could take several years.

The ruling says that the Agriculture Department had not adequately assessed the environmental consequences before approving them for commercial cultivation; the case stems from a lawsuit brought by the Center for Food Safety (a Washington advocacy group that opposes biotech crops) over Monsanto sugar beets engineered to be resistant to the herbicide Roundup. Roundup is also manufactured by Monsanto and was sold to farmers together with the GM sugar beet seeds–a nice little matching set. (A set which guarantees farmers’ dependence on Monsanto products.)

In a previous ruling, Judge White said the department had not sufficiently assessed the consequences from the potential spread of the genetically engineered trait to other sugar beets or to the related crops of Swiss chard and red table beets.

Sugar beets account for over half of the nation’s sugar supply. And although GM advocates are screaming “SUGAR SHORTAGE!”–conventional sugar beet seeds remain widely available and the environmentalists filing the suit said that the judge’s decision should not significantly affect sugar production.

Related: First GM Plants Found in the Wild, Are You Eating GM Foods?

Read more: Basics, Diet & Nutrition, Nature, News & Issues, , ,

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.

126 comments

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8:13AM PDT on Mar 13, 2013

Thank goodness there are some judges who see reason.

3:03AM PST on Jan 11, 2013

Thanks....

11:34AM PST on Dec 15, 2012

Thank you Melissa, for Sharing this!

9:26AM PST on Dec 15, 2012

Thank you for sharing.

7:32AM PST on Dec 15, 2012

Thanks.

9:18AM PST on Dec 14, 2012

This is good to hear!! Thank You

8:44AM PST on Dec 14, 2012

good news

4:14PM PST on Dec 13, 2012

Thanks.

3:31PM PDT on Oct 30, 2012

Some agency should make them bath daily in 'all' the chemicals they produce until they stop permanently worldwide.Demand that they and their families eat and drink only their GMO foods/ingredients they created and helped someone else create until they stop.They cannot be allowed to eat,drink,or bathe anything else no matter where they are on the planet and their situation such as illness,special diet,restricted diet,allergies,age,or anything else.NO EXEMPTIONS ALLOWED.

1:10PM PDT on Oct 30, 2012

Wonderfully news! it is a start

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