It is a rare occasion where Big Food and Big Pharma get slowed down on their march to take over the world. But Frankenseed grower Monsanto might just have hit a bump in the road. Monsanto have been ordered to destroy hundreds of acres of Frankensugar beet seedlings.

These genetically modified plants (think the TV series Swampthing) were grown in violation of federal law. I liked the program, but didn’t really want to eat the result!

swamp4a.jpg

The full article can be found here. But the most telling paragraph has to be:

Paul Achitoff of Earthjustice remarked, “USDA thumbed its nose at the judicial system and the public by allowing this crop to be grown without any environmental review. Herbicide resistant crops just like this have been shown to result in more toxic chemicals in our soil and water. USDA has shown no regard for the environmental laws, and we’re pleased that Judge White ordered the appropriate response.” A previous ruling found that the USDA was in violation of the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA), and an August ruling made any planting of the GE beets illegal until the USDA completes an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the GE beets; the USDA expects to complete the EIS in 2012.

Ouch! Of course this opens many doors, and many questions. One has to wonder who the USDA are working for? Actually that also brings into question the independence of the FDA as well. There are many, with good reason, that view these organizations with caution. Cynics view them as nothing more than Government Lobby groups, paid for by the tax payer, and populated by Golden Parachute winners from Big Food and Big Pharma. The mission is simple, just add the rubber stamp of approval to whatever the mega corporations wish to do.

Although this Sugargate controversy is in a very limited geographic area (San Francisco) it may well prove to be an important case.

Monsanto released a real yawner of a response, personally I suggest that you are jacked up on MSG, a good dose of GMO’s and other excitotoxins before reading it. You have been warned. The link is here.

For those of you that avoided the GMO Monsanto Brain Freeze, here are the best bits:

On the ruling:

“The issues that will be appealed are important to all US farmers who choose to plant biotech crops,” Snively added.  “We will spare no effort in challenging this ruling on the basis of flawed legal procedure and lack of consideration of important evidence.”

I think the key phrase is  US farmers who choose to plant biotech crops. Hmm.

They go on to explain:

More than 1 million acres of Roundup Ready sugar beet varieties have been planted in 10 U.S. states and in two Canadian provinces.  In North America, roughly 95 percent of the 2010 sugar beet acreage was safely planted with Roundup Ready varieties. Sugar beet growers have confirmed that Roundup Ready sugar beets reduce impacts on the environment and make their operations more efficient and productive.  Alternative technologies require more applications of pesticides, with greater impacts on the environment and lower productivity on farms.

The key here is the 95%. It would seem to a layman like myself that 95% and ‘Choose’ are just a little contradictory. I wonder if they can come up with some statistics that show that a similar 95% of consumers want the GMO sugar product?

Simon Barrett

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