GM alfalfa ban in US maintained on appeal

03-09-2008 | |

A federal appeals court in the United States upheld a nationwide ban on the planting of genetically engineered alfalfa, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The government has to complete a study on whether the altered seeds would contaminate other farmers’ alfalfa crops.

On March 30, 2007 the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco
upheld a federal judge’s decision that halted the planting of Monsanto Co.’s
herbicide-resistant strain of alfalfa.

Alfalfa growers filed a lawsuit
against Monsanto, because they are afraid that the engineered product, spread by
winds and bees, would pollinate their crops and take over their fields. The
Center for Food Safety, which represented the concerned alfalfa growers spoke of
“a major victory for farmers, both conventional and organic, for consumers and
for the environment.”

It helps consumers who don’t want dairy products
from cattle that forage on altered alfalfa and protects growers who want to
export crops to Japan, which bans genetically modified alfalfa. The targeted
alfalfa is made resistant against Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup
Ready.

Alfalfa, used for hay and cattle feed, is grown on 9.2 million
hectares in the US and is the fourth largest crop. California, with 400,000
hectares, is the leading producer. The courts decision is the first-ever ruling
against a genetically altered, government-approved commercial crop, said the
Center for Food Safety.

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