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Supreme Court rules against ban on GMO alfalfa, but requires complete safety study first

Sunday, August 08, 2010 by: Ethan Huff
Tags: GMOs, alfalfa, health news

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(NewsTarget) The battle continues as agri-giant Monsanto pushes to have its genetically-modified (GM) alfalfa approved for use in the U.S. Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court sided with Monsanto by ruling against a lower court's nationwide ban on the GM alfalfa; however, the court is requiring the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to complete a comprehensive safety study before the "franken-crop" can officially be approved.

The whole thing started when the USDA first approved Monsanto's GM alfalfa back in 2007. The Center for Food Safety (CFS) immediately filed a lawsuit against the approval, citing valid concerns that the seeds would take over pasture lands and become uncontrollable. The federal district judge who heard the case agreed, ruling also that the USDA had acted irresponsibly by failing to complete an environmental safety study prior to approving the seeds for planting. The same judge banned GM alfalfa nationwide.

The reason why GM alfalfa is particularly dangerous is that alfalfa is an aggressive spreader, and would likely end up in all sorts of fields, including organic ones. Alfalfa is typically used to feed dairy cattle, so if GM alfalfa is ever approved, it could destroy the entire organic beef and dairy industry. In the long term, it could ruin the entire organic food industry.

However, the Supreme Court recently ruled 7-to-1 that a nationwide ban was inappropriate, but it has allowed the ban to stay in place until the USDA completes the necessary Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

According to the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH), Monsanto was quick to spin the ruling as being in its favor, essentially telling the media that it had won a victory. But truth be told, the nationwide ban on GM alfalfa is still in place, and planting the crop is still illegal. Though the ruling allows Monsanto to move forward in trying to gain approval, there is no guarantee that the multi-national giant will be successful.

Part of the EIS process involves reviewing the more than 200,000 public comments received since December 2009 concerning GM alfalfa, most of which are likely in protest of the crop.

So it is important to keep letting your voice be heard on important issues like this one, especially when there is an open comment period. 200,000 people voiced their opinions about GM alfalfa, and this could greatly influence the USDA's final decision in the matter.

Sources:

Supreme Court Kicks Critical Genetically Modified Alfalfa Issue Down The Road - Alliance for Natural Health

Genetically Modified Foods: More Reason to Avoid Them; Why They Threaten Organic Agriculture

Dangers of Genetically Engineered Foods - Institute for Responsible Technology

About the author

Ethan Huff is a freelance writer and health enthusiast who loves exploring the vast world of natural foods and health, digging deep to get to the truth. He runs an online health publication of his own at http://wholesomeherald.blogspot.com.

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