Food Engineering

Federal court says no to GE alfalfa

July 6, 2009

No GE until an environmental impact statement is released

In a decision handed down in San Francisco, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has re-affirmed its previous decision upholding a nationwide ban on the planting of genetically-engineered (GE) Roundup-ready alfalfa, pending a full environmental impact statement (EIS), according to the Center for Food Safety (CFS). The court determined that the planting of genetically modified alfalfa can result in potentially irreversible harm to organic and conventional varieties of crops, damage to the environment and economic harm to farmers.

Although the suit was brought against USDA, Monsanto Co. and Forage Genetics entered into the suit as defendant-intervenors, according to CFS. In September 2008, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the lower court’s ruling, but the intervenors continued to press the appeal alone, requesting the appellate court to rehear the case. The latest decision denied the request and re-affirmed the earlier decision in full.

“This ruling affirms a major victory for consumers, ranchers, organic farmers and most conventional farmers across the country,” said Andrew Kimbrell, CFS executive director. “Roundup-Ready alfalfa represents a very real threat to farmers’ livelihoods and the environment. This ruling is a turning point in the regulation of biotech crops in this country,” added Kimbrell.