Judge Bans Monsanto Sugar Beets

Friday marked a win for opponents to Monsanto's genetically modified sugar beets.

Field of sugar beets

Friday marked a win for opponents to Monsanto’s genetically modified sugar beets.

Last September, U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White ruled that USDA illegally approved Monsanto’s sugar beets, and on Friday that ruling was upheld, banning future plantings.

Sugar beets make up about half of the sugar produced in the U.S., and 95% of those beets are Monsanto’s Roundup Ready variety. Since the ruling doesn’t affect current plantings or currently harvested beets, there shouldn’t be an immediate impact on sugar production.

Folks at the Center for Food Safety say long term sugar production shouldn’t be affected either, since non-GM beet seeds are still quite easy to come by.

A major concern with GM beets (as with most GM crops) is cross-contamination. New evidence shows that GM crops are making their way into the wild, which only strengthens that argument.

The other big concern, and one cited in the ruling, is that Roundup Ready crops actually cause farmers to use more pesticides in the long term, as Roundup resistant weeds start popping up.

Not only that, Roundup has serious negative impacts on our soil. Independent research has shown that it damages beneficial microbes, interferes with the plant’s nutrient uptake, and even reduces plant productivity over time.

So what do you think? Did the courts make the right call, or do you feel like there are benefits with GM crops that outweigh these downsides?

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by sanmartin

Source: Reuters

Written by Becky Striepe

13 Comments

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  1. Well, farmers obviously voted for GM sugar beets going to 90+% adoption in almost no time. Weed control in Sugar beets has always been quite difficult and glyphosate resistance was a really attractive trait for them. GM sugar beets were actually ready to go many years ago and were blocked by brand protectionism by some major sugar buyers.

    By the way, Becky, GM crops are not actually “making their way into the wild” unless you consider roadsides in North Dakota to be “the wild.” Roundup resistance is a real, and anticipated, issue, but sugar beets are too small a crop to be an issue for that. As for our soils, the steady increase in crop productivity suggests that the trace mineral issues are quite manageable.

    • I do consider that making their way into the wild. They’re growing in a place where they weren’t intended, which points to cross contamination. That’s a serious concern for folks that worry about GM crops’ effects on the food web and on human health.

    • Hey! Thanks for reporting this! Human-induced genetic modifications have been propagating to non-GM crops, which is one very big problem with GM technology – it cannot be contained, once grown. A self-propagating technology is a very big problem, especially because the side effects of these modifications have not been researched, and the research that has been done has not been opened to the public.

      I’m disturbed that so many years of GM beets have already been grown.

      Before you criticize the journalist, please look into the facts, keeping in mind that you may be wrong. I used to thing GM was good too. Now I know better. I hope you educate yourself. Good Luck!

    • Do you work for Monsanto or just enjoy eating GM foods? Have you examined any peer reviewed data on 3rd generation infertility related to ingesting GM crops? You sound informed, but not fully informed.

  2. The idea for GM sugar beets, as with New Leaf potatoes, is to keep pest at bay without having to use so many pesticides. If that is being co-opted by resistant weeds, more sprayings, tainting the soil, then the cross-pollenation, it seems to me it’s a bad idea. It was a bad idea to begin with, since Monsanto doesn’t care if the pesticide in the beet affects the consumer–and they don’t seem to care if the farmer goes broke either. How can this be a good thing?

  3. I agree with Becky…GM crops are impossible to control case in point how many farmers have been sued by Mon-SIN-o (Monsanto) due to other farmer GMO’s in their fields. Bottom line Gmo’s cant be contained they trespass on other farm, and non production lands.
    Being from North Dakota the roadway due matter to me, I paid for them. Any non production lands not under contract with GMO’s is considered the wild to me. I don’t want toxic waste on my North Dakota roadway’s or GMO’s.

  4. I think this company is putting sales/profit over the health of humans and it will have severe consequences for the human race in the long term.

  5. Any win over GM foods is a good one! Consumers should always have information and choice. There is no way to control cross-contamination of non-GM crops which is not a patent infringement by farmers but rather a trespassing issue as something unwanted is turning up somewhere it does not belong. Patents should be revoked and labelling of GM foods should be mandatory and then consumers should exercise their right to NOT buy!!

  6. Great NEWS!! Thanks for posting. It has made my day!
    Monsanto’s [Frankenstein-type] seeds must be stopped. GMOs should all be labelled as well and the general public should be more aware of the dangers. Too many people have their heads in the sand. Time to wake up, before it’s too late!!

  7. Good news. I feel that GM food may hold many keys for us, but we’ve been messing with these things for too short a period of time to really understand the negative affects that are possible.

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