Federal Judge Says USDA Illegally Approved Genetically Modified Sugar Beets


[Sugar Beet Field. Creative Commons photo by Gilles San Martin]

A federal judge in San Francisco ruled that the USDA illegally approved Monsanto’s genetically modified, Roudup Ready beets.


The USDA approved the Roundup Ready sugar beets in 2005 as not having any significant environmental effects. However, U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White said this does not take into account cross-contamination from the fields of GM beets to those growing non-GM beets or Swiss chard (which, it turns out, is a beet variety! Who knew?).

According to the Organic Consumers Association:

Sugar beets produce 30 percent of the world’s sugar and, according to consumer groups, half the granulated sugar in the United States. This year’s planting, centered in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, is the first to include a full crop of the Monsanto product.

In his September 21st ruling, the judge ruled that the “significant effect” on the environment is “the potential elimination of a farmer’s choice to grow non-genetically engineered crops, or a consumer’s choice to eat non-genetically engineered food.”

Apparently, when the USDA made their decision in 2005, they gave a nod to cross-contamination but said this did not matter, because farmers were still free to buy non-GM seeds. Still we’ve seen how much freedom Monsanto has allowed farmers in the past. How long before the first conventional beet farmer gets hit with a lawsuit from Monsanto for GM beets resulting from cross-contamination found in his fields?

So what do you guys think? Could this ruling change the way the USDA goes about approving new GM crops in this country?

Written by Becky Striepe

8 Comments

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  1. IIRC those rotten SOB’s are also taking farmers land in Alberta Canada, same reason, the GM crops cross pollinated the Alberta farmers crop and since the Alberta farmer doesn’t have high class parasites, er lawyers, he lost, and as a result he lost his farm…

  2. GM crops contain many new proteins that may cause alergies and a number of other unpredictable effects and deseases, that Monsanto insists in making governments around the world ignore. I live in Brazil, I intend to travel to the US with my family next year. After watching a documentary and reading a few pages about Monsanto’s evildoings, I’m affraid of the food we’ll eat there.

  3. Denis – I’ve wondered before if the rise of GM crops had anything to do with the rise in food allergies for that same reason. It would be awesome to read some research on that topic. I wonder if there’s any out there!

    If you’re concerned about GM foods, you might try to find organic eats while you’re in the US. USDA organic produce is not allowed to be genetically modified. It’s easier to find organic at the grocery store than in restaurants, though.

  4. i raise sugar beets in the yellowstone valley of montana all everyone needs to do is keep pricken with the roundup ready sugar beets and the price of sugar will be at the point all you grenies will be happy but the normal people will priced out of consumption and then you can rely on imported sugar. because with out roundup ready beets it makes it hard to compete with imported sugar.the cost of raising conventional sugar beets is three times the cost of roundup ready beets. at this rate you can add sugar to the list with oil that we will have to rely on foreign countries for.

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