Friday, December 03, 2010

Judge Orders GMO Beets Be Pulled From The Ground

Jody just sent this:

U.S. Judge Orders Destruction Of Monsanto GMO Sugar Beet Seed Plants, Globe and Mail, December 3 2010
A federal judge in California has ordered the removal from the ground of plants grown to produce seeds for genetically modified sugar beets.

In his decision, Judge White cited, “a significant risk of environmental harm.”

“The likely environmental harm ... is irreparable,” Judge White wrote.
The beet plants were genetically modified by Monsanto to resist their herbicide Roundup. Farmers may use Roundup liberally on Roundup-resistant plants.

Genetically modified seeds accounted for about 95% of sugar beet plantings this year.

Paul Atchitoff, of Earthjustice, an environmental law firm:
"The government's conduct is really outrageous. ... The court had just said in August the beets could not be grown and the government turned around and gave the industry the opportunity to grow them."
George Kimbrell, an attorney for the Centers for Food Safety:
"[Judge White's ruling is] a groundbreaking victory for farmers and the environment. ... This is the first time ever a federal court ordered an illegal biotech crop destroyed."
David Snively, general counsel for Monsanto:
"We believe the court's action overlooked the factual evidence presented that no harm would be caused by these plantings."

Click to enlarge.
Photo from USDA of geneticist Leonard Panella inspecting sugar beet plants.


Scott said...

Judge Jeffrey S. White of the United States District for Northern California is just trying to make a name for himself. Taking away roundup ready sugar beets what’s next taking away roundup ready corn and beans? Roundup ready products have allowed farmers to use fewer chemicals on their fields for weed control meaning less pollution and the chemicals used with roundup ready seed is water soluble meaning better for the environment than the conventional sugar beet, corn, and bean seed.

Claudia said...

Scott sounds like a Monsanto plant. What person in their right mind thinks pesticides are "better for the environment."

Bix said...

An environmental impact analysis wasn't completed, Scott. "Environment" includes the socioeconomic environment. Pollen from genetically engineered seeds can infect conventional and organic crops, destroying the livelihood of those farmers and severely reducing the availability of conventional stock, which pushes the price up for the consumer. These are issues the USDA failed to address, issues the judge required they address.

Bix said...

By the way, it's not true that crops genetically engineered (GE) to resist pesticides (e.g. Monsanto's Roundup-Ready) result in the use of less pesticides. GE crops, in fact, use more.

Here are excerpts from the Union of Concerned Scientists 2004 report:

Genetically Engineered Crops and Pesticide Use in the United States: The First Nine Years

This makes me think what Claudia said is true:

"... biotech proponents have claimed repeatedly that today’s GE crop technologies are reducing pesticide use."

The truth:

"Overall pesticide use has risen about 4.1 percent on acres planted to GE varieties."

More has to be used on GE crops because weeds are becoming resistant:

"The ecological adaptations predicated by scientists have been occurring in the case of Roundup Ready crops for three or four years and appear to be accelerating."

"Reliance on a single herbicide, glyphosate, as the primary method for managing weeds on millions of acres planted to HT varieties remains the primary factor that has led to the need to apply more herbicides per acre to achieve the same level of weed control."

While at the same time, chemical use on conventional, non-GMO crops, has gone down:

"While ecological changes are pushing herbicide use upward on HT crop acres, regulatory forces and industry innovation are edging average application rates downward on land planted to conventional varieties."