Posting in Environment
The U.S. Supreme Court has lifted the ban on genetically modified alfalfa seeds, a big win for agricultural giant Monsanto.
In a case involving agricultural giant Monsanto, the U.S. Supreme Court has lifted a ban on genetically modified alfalfa seeds.
The move will likely affect the regulation of other biotech crops, including genetically modified sugar beets, and could make it easier for GM crops to stay on the market, since it will be no longer be possible to ban an approved crop without a full hearing.
Monsanto engineered the alfalfa seeds to be resistant to the weed killing herbicide Roundup Ready, but faces resistance from farmers, who have concerns about cross-contamination with other crops, among other environmental risks.
Some Roundup Ready seeds had already been planted before the ban was enacted. Today, GM alfalfa seeds make up 1 percent of the market.
Some 95 percent of beets grown in the U.S. carry the Monsanto bacterial gene that resists the herbicide glyphosate, present in Roundup Ready.
Though the verdict of the Monsanto v. Geertson Seed Farm case doesn't come as much of a surprise to anyone who had been following it, it is the first time the Supreme Court made a decision about genetically modified foods.
Now familiar with the war over GM food? Here's a quick primer:
- 2005: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) approves the sale of GM alfalfa seeds.
- 2005 onward: More than 5,500 farmers plant the GM alfalfa seeds.
- 2006: The Center for Food Safety sues the USDA for not investigating the impact of GM seeds on the environment.
- 2007: Awaiting a verdict on the environmental impact of the seeds, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California bans the sale of GM alfalfa seeds on the grounds that the USDA violated federal law by not reviewing the seeds' environmental risk.
- Monsanto appeals the ruling, sending the case to the Supreme Court.
- 2010: Monsanto wins. The Supreme Court rules 7 to 1.
The decision means that farmers, growers and seed producers can have a hearing before an injunction is put in place. In other words: once a crop goes on sale, it can't be banned without a hearing.
The environmental impact statement is still pending. USDA spokesman Caleb Weaver was quoted in The Los Angeles Times as saying that, in so many words, the decision on GM seeds is hardly final:
"Nothing in the Supreme Court's decision affects that ongoing process."
What kind of environmental risk, you ask? Andrew Pollack explains in The New York Times:
The crops contain a bacterial gene that allows them to withstand spraying with Roundup or its generic equivalents, known as glyphosate. That allows farmers to spray their fields to kill weeds while leaving the crop intact, making weed control easy.
The environmental groups and others had said that the foreign gene might spread to organic or conventional nongenetically engineered crops, hurting sales of organic farmers or exports to countries like Japan that did not want genetically engineered varieties.
Writing in The Atlantic, New York University nutrition professor Marion Nestle shows how a lack of regulation could ripple through the food chain:
According to the USDA's preliminary assessment of the impact, [Roundup Ready] alfalfa will not adversely affect the environment. But more than 20,000 people wrote to say that they disagreed with the USDA's benign view.
A significant letter to USDA Secretary Vilsack points out that alfalfa is a major source of forage for dairy cows. If USDA allows GM alfalfa to be grown, it will contaminate conventional alfalfa grown organically (through pollen drift). If organic dairy producers cannot get uncontaminated organic alfalfa to feed their cows, they will not be able to get their milk certified as organic.
Nestle also questioned the ability for regulators to prevent pollen from GM crops to contaminate organic crops nearby.
There are also questions about sustainability. For example, 92 percent of soybeans and 85 percent of corn uses Monsanto technology, leaving them helpless when Mother Nature strikes back.
The LA Times, again:
Yet a number of so-called superweeds — weeds that have developed an immunity to Roundup, including pigweed and horseweed — are growing on millions of acres of farmland in 22 states, including California.
That, in turn, has farmers using far more potent herbicides on their land and chemical companies starting to sell old chemical compounds that posed more environmental risks than Roundup.
Jun 22, 2010
The removal of ban from alfalfa seeds was good and it was great news for me that the crop will not be banned prior to hearing. http://www.lawyer-network.net/
The Supreme court has NOT lifted the ban on GMO Alfalfa... Why have you posted this disinformation lie piece?... shame on you...people go check it out for yourself... This article is a paid Monsanto propaganda piece
The Supreme court has NOT lifted the ban on GMO Alfalfa... why have you posted this disinformation lie piece?... shame on you...people go check it out for yourself... This article is a paid Monsanto propaganda piece
Go to credoaction.com to help fight against evil incarnate such as Monsanto. This world can be a better place if power is no longer allowed to corrupt.
Maybe these genetically modified products should be tested on Monsanto's board of directors prior to being released to the general public?
85% of all corn in this country is now genetically modified. The majority of soy and other common food products are genetically modified in this country. Besides the fact that the genes are patented, the proliferation of the genes is uncontrollable. Pollen from one farm with genetically modified stock could pollinate plants from another farm. There have already been cases where Monsanto has sued farmers that had inadvertently been infected with Monsanto's patented genes, and they won. It did not matter to the courts that the farmers could not prevent this. The genes were considered Monstanto's property, to be licensed by them like information. Numerous studies with rats and livestock that ingested primarily genetically modified food, which showed dramatic evidence for infertility and major inflammation of the digestive tracks. (Livestock's intestines fell apart and were unable to be used as casing for sausages, for example.) But despite the significant, verifiable, empirical evidence that points to the possibility these foods are poison, they are still legal. The genes integrated into the plants are the same genes in the bacteria Monsanto uses to produce the pesticide. The plants are immune to the pesticides and herbicides because they have the same genes the bacteria that produce the chemicals have. The plants produce a residue of poison. It's illegal in Canada. It's illegal in Europe and England. It's illegal in China. The US is turning to the third world by allowing everyone to eat this stuff. The only current alternative is organic farming, which is under threat from accidental pollination, and is much more expensive than the alternative.
One last short note. DO the research on asparatame and stevioside. You will find that Monsanto was behind the banning of stevioside from the USA for many years. Monsanto owned asparttame, they owned the lab that created it. After it was approved over the objections of a 6 researcher FDA panel, the head of the FDA who over-ruled them went to work for Monsanto. A complaint was lodged against stevioside (300 times sweeter than sugar, all natural, no fat, no calories, no carbohydrates 100% safe) the new head of the FDA banned stevioside. He then went to work for Monsanto's public relations company. After his short term of "government service". Stevioside is allowed to be sold today in the USA only because the American Herbal Products Association sued the FDA and won. It should never have come to this. Monsanto = deep pocket thug organization
Monsanto is a Thug company with deep, deep, deep pockets and HUGE US government backing. They are criminal in the way they use heavy handed tactics to intimidate farmers (agriculture and dairy. If the free market was allowed to be free without government interference it is highly doubtful Monsanto would ever be able to sell their products. However, due to the US government, milk from cows laced with Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH), a genetically engineered hormone manufactured by Monsanto is allowed to be sold but no warning on the package. TO make matters worse, thanks to the US government dairy from animals that were not injected with rGBH can not state "raised without rGBH" due to Monsanto. Stop government support of companies and let the free market decide. Not the courts, not government agencies, but free people, free to make their own choices. The government should stop thuggery and intimidation, not instigate it. Not protect it, and not condone it. We buy organic as much as possible, but there is a big problem if a farm using gmo crops is next to one that is not. The seeds and pollen will drift and there will be gmo corps growing even though they are not planted. Proof of this heppening is what happend to a farmer in I believe it was Canada. He discovered gmo "roundup-ready" crops growing in his field. He tried to kill them, and then got sued by Monsanto for growing copyrighted or patened products without thier approval. Guess who won... Monsanto. Thank you bought off governments and corrupt officials who retire to Monsanto after "government service"
Re Percy Schmeiser: Please read the court findings before continuing to promote his BS story. Schmeiser was first found to have violated Monsanto?s patent in 2001 when the federal court found he ?knew or ought to have known? he had saved and planted Roundup Ready seed and infringed Monsanto?s Roundup Ready patented technology. You can read the original Canadian court decision at http://decisions.fct-cf.gc.ca/en/2001/2001fct256/2001fct256.html. He lost again upon appeal in 2002, when the three-member Canadian Federal Court of Appeal unanimously dismissed all 17 grounds of appeal submitted for Mr. Schmeiser. Read the entire decision at http://decisions.fca-caf.gc.ca/en/2002/2002fca309/2002fca309.html. He lost again, in 2004, in an appeal to the Canadian Supreme Court--exhausting all his legal options. See the court judgment document at http://scc.lexum.umontreal.ca/en/2004/2004scc34/2004scc34.html
Actually, we should not buy the Monsanto spin on this historic defeat for them: The 7-1 decision issued today by the Supreme Court was on the appeal of the Center for Food Safety's (CFS) successful suit, which resulted in a ban on GMO alfalfa. And, while the High Court ruled in favor of Monsanto by reversing an injunction that was part of the lower court's decision, more importantly, it also ruled that the ban on GMO alfalfa remains intact, and that the planting and sale of GMO alfalfa remains illegal. This point, which seems to be lost in some news reports, is actually a huge victory for the Center for Food Safety and - most importantly - for the farmers and consumers who we represent. The Supreme Court ruled that an injunction against planting was unnecessary since, under lower courts' rulings, Roundup Ready Alfalfa became a regulated item and illegal to plant. In other words, the injunction was "overkill' because our victory in lower federal court determined that USDA violated the National Environmental Policy Act and other environmental laws when it approved Roundup Ready alfalfa. The court felt that voiding the USDA's decision to make the crop legally available for sale was enough. see http://www.huffingtonpost.com/andrew-kimbrell/supreme-court-case-a-defe_b_620087.html
Once the pollen from GM Alfalfa contaminates non-GM Alfalfa then Monsanto can sue the farmers not using their seed for theft of their intellectual property. Look up the saga of Percy Schmeiser, an Canadian grower of canola.