Photo: Gilles San Martin
It seems that GMOs are again steamrolling their way through our legal system. Back in December it seemed there may be a light at the end of the tunnel when a federal judge ordered that 258 acres of genetically modified sugar beets be destroyed. But now we're back to square one, if not worse. A federal appeals court in San Francisco has overturned a previous ruling to destroy the genetically modified sugar beets, ruling in favor of Monsanto and the USDA, according to Food Quality News.In December, Judge Jeffrey White ruled that the crops be destroyed because the risk of gene contamination in Oregon's Willamette Valley was so great. Then the USDA started easing off when they announced that farmers be allowed to grow genetically modified sugar beets this season, "while it finishes work on a full environmental impact statement on the beets' effect on other crops and the environment." It seemed strange to allow a potentially harmful experiment to continue when you were currently conducting an environmental impact statement on it.
And then the most recent court ruling said: "We hold that the district court abused its discretion in granting the preliminary injunction...The Plaintiffs have failed to show a likelihood of irreparable injury. Biology, geography, field experience, and permit restrictions make irreparable injury unlikely," according to Food Quality News.
GMO sugar beets account for 95 percent of the crop and there are real fears that the wind can cross-pollinate GMOs with the organic variety. Why is the USDA on the side of Monsanto when Tom Vilsack said just a few months ago that "We have an obligation to carefully consider...the potential of cross-fertilization to non-GE alfalfa from GE alfalfa--a significant concern for farmers who produce for non-GE markets at home and abroad?"
The numbers are dramatically increasing every year as reported on GOOD and released by the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications, a nonprofit organization funded in large part by the biotech industry. The U.S. currently cultivates 66.8 million hectares or 165 million acres of GMO crops. This is a 7 million, yes, 7 million acres increase from just two years ago.
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More on GMOs
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Why Other Countries Are Scared of GMOs and We're Not
How Much of Your Pantry is Genetically Modified?