Genetically Modified Sugar Beets Prematurely Permitted

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Genetically modified foods are responsible, in part, for the widespread use of chemical herbicides. RoundUp-ready GM crops are being planted across the country, allowing for the liberal use of the toxic chemical herbicide RoundUp. 

Sugar beets were genetically modified in this way, but were originally taken out of production by a court order issued by district court judge Jeffrey S. White, who said a full environmental impact statement (EIS) needed to be done first. Well, a recent study that suggests a shortage of sugar beet seeds this spring has catalyzed a reaction by food companies to pressure the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to lift the ban. 

The result? Genetically modified sugar beets are being partially deregulated, and will be planted this spring.  The USDA is permitting farmers to plant the GM sugar beets in line with rules designed to prevent the plant’s wind-blown pollen from reaching organic fields, where it could contaminate the organic crops with its own GM traits. Whether these rules will actually be followed (if they are even effective!) is another story.

This is a perfect example of the HUGE influence that the food industry has on government regulation. Alfalfa crops have already been deregulated in this way. The Organic Consumers Association said this about the deregulation of alfalfa: “[It is] guaranteed to spread its mutant genes and seeds across the nation; guaranteed to contaminate the alfalfa fed to organic animals; guaranteed to lead to massive poisoning of farm workers and destruction of the essential soil food web by the toxic herbicide, RoundUp; and guaranteed to produce RoundUp-resistant superweeds….”

Too bad the Organic Consumers Association doesn’t have the same pull as the food industry!