Nearly 1 year ago Monsanto’s genetically modified seeds were ordered to be removed from the soil. However, this was not the first ruling for Monsanto concerning their genetically modified seedlings. Monsanto was previously ordered to remove their seedlings after they were deemed illegal due to insufficient environmental review from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), but Monsanto took no action.
The seeds, which were to sprout into sugar beets, are genetically modified (GM) to withstand their very popular product, Roundup. What is Roundup? Roundup is an herbicide which has been one of the most popular herbicide products for decades. Unfortunately, creating harmful GM seeds and crops aren’t enough for Monsanto. They must also produce the most popular herbicide to spray on crops, further damaging those who consume the produce.
In the first case against Monsanto’s sugar beets seedlings, a consumer group called Earthjustice stated that the USDA prematurely approved the sugar beets in 2005 before administering an Environmental Impact Statement. The USDA didn’t agree that any wrong had been done and argued that the seedlings don’t have an environmental impact since they are not in the same cycle as the sugar beet crop cycle. Even after judge White declared Monsanto’s sugar beets illegal, the USDA handed out permits giving companies the right to produce seeds for future Monsanto sugar beet crops even though the crops were not reviewed.
Approximately 50 percent of the U.S. sugar supply was generated from sugar beets at the time of this ruling, in late November 2010. 90 percent of US sugar beets are also genetically modified. The USDA not approving Monsanto’s sugar beets would have costed the company $2 billion over the next two years after the case. Interestingly enough, the GM sugar beets were non-existent just seven years ago.