On Friday, the USDA decided to allow the U.S. sugar beet industry to continue growing Monsanto’s “Roundup Ready,” genetically engineered (GE) sugar beets, despite previous court rulings ordering an injunction. A coalition of farmers and environmentalists including The Center for Food Safety, Organic Seed Alliance, High Mowing Organic Seeds, and the Sierra Club are challenging the approval in court.
The federal district court for the Northern District of California already found that growing the GE sugar beets is likely to cause irreparable harm to the groups’ members and the environment, and “may cross-pollinate with non-genetically engineered sugar beets and related Swiss chard and table beets,” and ordered the federal government to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) as required by the National Environmental Policy Act before allowing the GE sugar beets to be grown.
On November 30, 2010, the court granted the groups’ motion for a preliminary injunction and ordered the seed crop destroyed. That order was stayed pending appeal, which is scheduled for argument on February 15, 2011.
It is clear that the battle between the interests of industry and the public continues unabated.
See the full press release here.