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Environment

Court Rules Against Monsanto Beets

by Britt E. Erickson
September 28, 2009 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 87, ISSUE 39

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Credit: USDA ARS
8739gcon_beetscxd1.jpg
Credit: USDA ARS

USDA's approval of Monsanto's genetically engineered Roundup Ready sugar beets violated the National Environmental Policy Act because the agency did not prepare an environmental impact statement, according to a Sept. 21 ruling of the Federal District Court for the Northern District of California. The court ordered USDA's Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service to assess the environmental and economic impacts of Roundup Ready sugar beets and scheduled an Oct. 30 meeting to consider other court action. The sugar beets are engineered to be resistant to Monsanto's glyphosate herbicide, Roundup. The suit was filed in January 2008 by a coalition of nonprofit environmental and food safety advocacy groups, represented by Earthjustice and the Center for Food Safety. The groups contend that "sugar beets are wind pollinated and will inevitably cross-pollinate the related crops being grown in the same area." Monsanto says the ruling focused only on process and did not question the safety or benefits of Roundup Ready sugar beets.

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