Judge denies injunction in sugar beet case

by Ron Sterk
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KANSAS CITY — Judge Jeffery White in the Northern District of California denied a motion for an injunction to prohibit the planting of bioengineered sugar beet seeds sought in a suit filed by the Center for Food Safety and others, according an article on the Capital Press web site.

Parties on both sides of the case still are set to present arguments on July 9 concerning a decision on a permanent injunction, according to the article.

Today’s ruling should allow growers to proceed with spring planting of the Roundup Ready seed from Monsanto.

The suit was filed in January 2008 by the Center for Food Safety, Organic Seed Alliance, Sierra Club and High Mowing Organic Seeds against then U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Edward T. Schafer and Administrator of the U.S.D.A.’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Cindy Smith. It seeks to block the production and use of genetically engineered sugar beet seed as well as the growing and processing of sugar beets grown from the seeds. The groups claimed the U.S.D.A. did not complete a thorough enough environmental risk assessment when APHIS approved the seeds in 2005.

Trade sources indicated more than 95% of all U.S. sugar beet area in 2009 was planted to the seed, which is resistant to Roundup herbicide, thus providing better weed control in fields. Sugar beet growers have indicated there were insufficient non-genetically engineered seed to plant this year, as well as a lack of necessary replacement herbicide.

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