I was so excited when I saw this article about GMO sugar beets on Facebook this AM!!
U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White has ruled that it was ILLEGAL for the USDA to approve the planting of GMO sugar beets, & that this decision was made "without adequately considering the chance they will contaminate other beet crops!!" (which include table beets & swiss chard, in addition to sugar beets)
I was saddened to see that the 'first full crop' of Round up Ready beets is right here in Oregon's Willamette Valley!! Fortunatly, the 'drift' for the pollen from beets is only 1/2 mile, so hopefully, non of our local OG farmers are that close to someone growing the GMO beets! But what about other 'conventional' farmers, who didn't choose to use the GM seed? Their crops will be contaminated by the drift from the GMO seeds.
The growers from 'my' CSA higlight their visits to several local small Organic farms - here.
Federal Judge White said the USDA must prepare an environmental impact statement, which would include public input, & a lawyer for plaintiffs in the case said they would ask the judge for an injunction against sales until the review was completed. Woo Hoo!!
Several years ago, 87% of US citizens polled by the USDA said they want to be INFORMED of GMO additions in the food they buy . . . this is where we come in - we need to inform the USDA & others that we DON'T want these crops contaminating our food supply, we don't like the idea of 'terminator' genetics (the seeds of GMO crops aren't fertile, so the farmers HAVE to continue buying seed from the company - which, gee golly, just happens to manufacture the herbicide - Round-Up that MUST be sprayed on the crops . . . ) & we do want labeling on all GMO ingredients!
Since beets are a root crop, they absorb a much higher amount of herbicides & fertilizer than seed crops (soy beans, corn) which are above ground & protected by their pods or husks. Sugar can be an ingredient of anything - so unless the sugar is labled as Organic (which can't be GM) or as cane sugar, it may be GMO beet sugar! (& part of the OK on growing the beets included no need to lable the resulting sugar as GM!) I've been aware of this danger for the past year, since the seeds were introduced, so am gratified that one Federal Judge has the courage to say 'whoa! Let's back up here & re-consider the impact!'
Unfortunatly, farmers - who may already be struggling - are going to be affected by this ruling. For whatever reason, they've bought the hype that the GMO beets were a good investment, & typically devote huge fields to one crop (mono-culture) so losing that crop can be financially devestating. A large percentage of Oregon farmers are 60 or older, & many of these farm 'conventionally' (so use commercial fertilizer & herbicides, & are drawn to these GMO crops that make the crop resistant to Round-up & to certain insects).
Here's an article by my CSA farmers highlighting & countering some of the Agra-biz 'myths.'
"Most of the soybean supply in the U.S. is already contaminated with genetically modified seeds. Many organic and conventional corn farmers are losing markets because their crops are testing positive for GM traits. Many experts have said that it is next to impossible to find non-GM canola in Canada because of this genetic trespass.
"All these new GM crops are patented, which prohibits farmers from planting the seeds in subsequent years. This means that they must purchase the patented seed every year from the seed company. Monsanto sells 90% of all GM seeds in use today." (Organic Consumers article on GM wheat, which is also being proposed)
It feels like we're gaining ground with this ruling by Judge White - kudos!