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District judge not so sweet on genetically engineered beets

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A judge's ruling affects the planting of beets.
A judge's ruling affects the planting of beets.

Agriculture equipment will most likely not be used to plant one crop next year, thanks to a recent U.S. District Court decision.

Judge Jeffrey White decided that genetically engineered sugar beets cannot be planted. While that will, for now, prohibit producing these crops next year, the 2010 harvest will still be allowed to move forward.

The Sugar Industry Biotech Council said that the beet industry will work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in an attempt to adopt measures that will allow planting genetically engineered beets while still complying with federal rules. The government's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service may try to come up with the new guidelines.

According to the SIBC, one challenge presented to sugar beet farmers is trying to control weeds. That is why genetically engineered versions of the former are popular as they are resistant to Roundup, which is a widely used herbicide.

White came down with his ruling in part because he did not feel enough evidence had been produced regarding the effects genetically engineered beets have on other food-related crops.

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