Monsanto is making news again, and this time the chemical and seed giant has a partner in crime: our own USDA. And PAN partner, Center for Food Safety, chalked up a win when GM sugar beets were ordered torn out of the ground.
On November 30, Federal District Judge Jeffrey S. White ruled against Monsanto and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), citing the illegal planting of genetically modified (GM) sugar beets. He ordered current seedlings to be torn out of the ground, pending the completion of a full environmental impact report, which USDA and Monsanto have ignored until now, violating the National Environment Policy Act (NEPA). The USDA reports that it is in the process of conducting the report, but that it will not be complete until May 2012. Monsanto has said it will appeal the ruling.
Currently, GM crops make up about 95% of sugar beet production in the US. Unfortunately, beet farmers now rely on the patented GM seeds for their income. By attempting to circumvent the law, Monsanto and the USDA have put these farmers, and the people who buy sugar in a tight spot. The plaintiffs in the case, The Center for Food Safety, Organic Seed Alliance, High Mowing Organic Seeds, and the Sierra Club, will continue to keep a watchful eye on this biotech giant as they pursue farmer and eater friendly sugar.