Judge Jeffrey White, of theÂ Federal District CourtÂ inÂ San Francisco, has overturned government approval for genetically modifiedÂ sugar beet production. The judge said in his decision that the Department of Agriculture had not shown adequate proof that the genetically engineered crop will not cause environmental harm.
The suit to halt the growth of what are now known as biotech crops was filed by a Washington advocacy group, the Center forÂ Food Safety. The group had asked for an immediate ban but the judge said that it would be too hard on the farmers to ban the modified beets this year but that they must move to standard, non-modified seeds next year.
SinceÂ sugar beetsÂ provide close to 50% of the country’s sugar and almost 95% of the seeds used currently are genetically engineered, there is some concern over the effects of this decision on both the farmers and the price and supply of sugar in coming years.
In an earlier ruling in the case, Judge White expressed concerns that the government had not addressed the possible consequences of the genetic modifications transferring from the engineered sugar beets to related crops.
- U.S. judge bans planting of genetically engineered beets (reuters.com)