Federal Courts have ruled against the USDA in three cases for failing to carry out proper environment impact assessment, making their original approvals of GM crops illegal. One of the biggest problems with these crops is that they pollute nearby fields, something that is especially worrisome to farmers who grow organic crops, which are becoming more popular every day.

The first lawsuit concerns drug-producing GM crops. According to the Institute of Science in Society (ISS), “a federal district judge in Hawaii ruled in August 2006 that the USDA violated the Endangered Species Act as well as the National Environmental Policy Act in allowing drug-producing GM crops to be cultivated throughout Hawaii, and failing to conduct even preliminary investigations on environmental impact prior to the approval of planting?. From 2001 to 2003, four companies, ProdiGene, Monsanto,Hawaii Agriculture Research Center, and Garst Seed, were allowed to plant corn and sugarcane geneticallymodified to produce experimental pharmaceutical products such as vaccines, hormones, cancer fighting agents and other proteins that are still under development and hence not yet approved.”

The second case was filed in Federal Court Washington DC in February, 2007 against the trials of GM creeping bentgrass by the Center for Food Safety, and other plaintiffs. According to the ISS webiste, “Federal district judge Harold Kennedy ruled that the USDA must halt approval of all new field trials until more rigorous environmental reviews are conducted. USDA’s past approval of GM herbicide-tolerant creeping bent grass led to widespread dispersal of pollen from the GM grass, and USDA’s approval of bent grass trials was ruled illegal.” The third case was filed in Northern California by the Center for Food Safety, environment and others, including farmers. The ISS reports that in February, 2007, “a Federal Court ruled that Monsanto’s Roundup Ready alfalfa had been approved for commercial release illegally, because there had been no Environment Impact Statement?[This] decision may prevent this season’s sales and planting of Monsanto’s GM alfalfa and future submissions of other GM crops for commercial deregulation.”

Seed savers may be able to relax: the age of Frankenfoods may finally be over.

Art credit: freeimages.co.uk

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