A federal court in California has ruled against St. Louis, MO-based Monsanto Co.’s genetically modified (GM) sugar beets, saying USDA failed to adequately study the crop’s environmental and economic risks before approving the crop in 2005, reports the Triangle Business Journal.
The court ordered USDA to conduct a more stringent assessment of the glyphosate-resistant crop. The plaintiffs – which include the Sierra Club, Center for Food Safety, and Organic Seed Alliance – filed the lawsuit in January 2008.
Roundup Ready sugar beet critics say the GM crop promotes herbicide-tolerant "superweeds." More than 1 million U.S. acres were seeded with Roundup Ready sugar beets, which have been produced commercially for four years.
Garrett Kasper, Monsanto spokesman, says the ruling focused on USDA’s process in deregulating Roundup Ready sugarbeets, "and in no way questioned the safety or benefits of Roundup Ready sugarbeets … for right now, there’s no immediate effect on growers producing biotech sugarbeets or on the processors."
In the next phase of the proceedings, scheduled for late October, Monsanto will have the opportunity to defend the GM beets.
(Source: Triangle Business Journal)