Ruling Imperils Production of Genetically Modified Sugar Beets

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on October 17, 2010

WSJ: “U.S. sugar production will be cut by about 20% if farmers are banned from planting genetically modified beets next year, according to data prepared for the U.S. Department of Agriculture as part of a court case over whether to continue allowing the practice. Genetically modified beets have come to account for 95% of the U.S. sugar-beet crop in the five years since they were approved by the Agriculture Department. But in August, a judge threw out the USDA’s initial approval for the use of genetically modified seeds, saying it hadn’t done enough research into the environmental impact. The department says the studies the judge required will take about two years. That triggered concerns there wouldn’t be enough traditional sugar-beet seeds for next spring’s planting season, as many seed producers had switched to genetically modified varieties. It takes about two years to produce seeds. Sugar beets, from which sugar is processed, will account for about 60% of domestic U.S. production.”

  • Federal Court Finds USDA Broke The Law In Allowing Planting Of Genetically Engineered Sugar Beets: This case is Center for Food Safety v. Vilsack, No. C10-04038 JSW (N.D. Cal. 2010). The court order is available here
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