Last week, the organic food industry scored a very important victory.
On Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a summary order concluding a long-standing lawsuit over the impact of genetically-engineered “Roundup Ready” sugar beets.
In Plain English, This Means…..
Previous court rulings have said that the USDA must complete an Environmental Impact Study (EIS) before allowing genetically-engineered “Roundup Ready” sugar beets to be planted. These ge-sugar beets have been engineered to be resistant to Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide.
Of course, Monsanto and its allies at the USDA do not want to wait a few years until an EIS is completed. That would result in lost sales, and who knows what the EIS might say. The EIS may actually say what many of us believe to be true – that ge-crops and herbicides (1) will contaminate nearby and similar crops, such as organic sugar beets and organic chard; and (2) will contaminate the water supply and damage environmental surroundings.
In order to get around the EIS, the USDA has used different and very questionable tactics. So, The Center for Food Safety and other groups had to file additional lawsuits to force the USDA to obey what the courts have been telling them to do.
The federal agency’s behavior has been so outrageous that Andrew Kimbrell, the Executive Director of The Center for Food Safety, has called the “USDA a rogue government agency.” This is because they just blatantly disregard the rulings of the courts.
Earthjustice attorney Paul Achitoff said that “the agency has flouted the law, favoring the interests of Monsanto over those of American people. With every court decision the need for fundamental reform in this area becomes ever more obvious.”
The Scary Part
What should really alarm people is that this is only the second environmental study required for any genetically-engineered crop since the USDA first approved them in the early 1990s.
Our government is conducting a massive experiment without any regard to the irreparable harm that ge-crops may cause our environment and the health of our citizens.
1) It is a very, very sad commentary that we have to sue our government because it does not follow the rulings of the judicial system. Citizens are expected to obey the law but not the government itself.
2) It is even more sad that the government continues to put the best interest of major corporations ahead of the welfare of its citizens.
3) I hope that this victory is just one of many more for the organic food industry.