Friday marked a win for opponents to Monsanto’s genetically modified sugar beets.
Last September, U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White ruled that USDA illegally approved Monsanto’s sugar beets, and on Friday that ruling was upheld, banning future plantings.
Sugar beets make up about half of the sugar produced in the U.S., and 95% of those beets are Monsanto’s Roundup Ready variety. Since the ruling doesn’t affect current plantings or currently harvested beets, there shouldn’t be an immediate impact on sugar production.
Folks at the Center for Food Safety say long term sugar production shouldn’t be affected either, since non-GM beet seeds are still quite easy to come by.
A major concern with GM beets (as with most GM crops) is cross-contamination. New evidence shows that GM crops are making their way into the wild, which only strengthens that argument.
The other big concern, and one cited in the ruling, is that Roundup Ready crops actually cause farmers to use more pesticides in the long term, as Roundup resistant weeds start popping up.
Not only that, Roundup has serious negative impacts on our soil. Independent research has shown that it damages beneficial microbes, interferes with the plant’s nutrient uptake, and even reduces plant productivity over time.
So what do you think? Did the courts make the right call, or do you feel like there are benefits with GM crops that outweigh these downsides?
Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by sanmartin