In a Press Release on May 20th of this year The Center for Food Safety (which describes itself as a non-profit public interest and environmental advocacy organization) documented a small, and perhaps tenuous, victory for farmers, and for “We the People”; as follows:
Today the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a summary order concluding a long-standing lawsuit over the impacts of genetically engineered (GE) “Roundup Ready” sugar beets. As a result, previous court rulings in favor of farmers and conservation advocates will remain, including the order requiring the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to prepare a rigorous review of the impacts of GE sugar beets, engineered to be resistant to Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, before deciding whether to again allow their future commercial use.
Just in case you were wondering why a court would have to order an EIS (environmental impact study) by the USDA, or put another way, if you still had any doubts as to whether the USDA has been “captured” by the industry it is supposedly regulating; the Center for Food Safety provides us with these disturbing facts:
Remarkably, the EIS is only the second USDA has undertaken for any GE crop in over 15 years of approving such crops for human consumption. Both analyses were court-ordered. USDA said it expects to finish the GE sugar beets EIS and have a new decision on commercialization in 2012.
The reason that I described this dismissal of Monsanto’s appeal as “perhaps tenuous” in my lede is this further information by the CFS :
During this case’s appeal, USDA approved 2011-2012 planting of GE sugar beets under the terms of a novel permitting and “partial deregulation” scheme while it conducted the court-ordered analysis. That decision is the subject of separate litigation that is ongoing in the District of Columbia.
The problem being that conventional, as well as organic farmers, have no way to defend their crops against cross-contamination during pollination by insects. In my most recent post here at myFDL on this topic Dr. Don Huber Professor Emeritus of Plant Pathology at Purdue University in a video interview by Food Democracy, estimated that the USDA’s full deregulation of genetically engineered alfalfa will effectively eliminate all natural alfalfa within five years; you can find that post here:
This is disheartening for any of us concerned about the integrity of our food supply. Alfalfa is presently our predominant livestock feed grain. Sugar beets constitute more than half of the U.S. sugar supply. The partial plantings of Monsanto’s genetically engineered sugar beets are problematic at best, because the potential damage caused by cross-contamination (GE crops provide a fertile habitat for this newly engendered pathogenic life form discussed in my above cited post), cannot yet be known.
Given the discovery of this new life form that has evolved due to the proliferation of genetically engineered “Roundup ready” ( Monsanto’s glyphosate based herbicide) crops, that is suspected of causing infertility, birth defects, still births, and spontaneous abortions in high numbers in livestock; we all need to pay close attention. Especially if fears that this new organism proves capable of travelling up the food chain and infecting humans prove to be well founded.
You can find the complete text of The Center for Food Safety Press Release from which I pulled the above quotes at this link: