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genetically engineered sugar beets

USDA Approves Genetically Engineered Sugar Beets

The USDA will allow some farmers to grow genetically engineered sugar beets this spring, without an environmental impact study.

By Leah Zerbe and Emily Main


USDA Approves Genetically Engineered Sugar Beets

This spring's plantings could include genetically engineered beets...and bigger doses of toxic herbicides.

RODALE NEWS, STATE COLLEGE, PA—In an unprecedented move, one that some food safety groups call illegal, on Friday afternoon the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved the planting and sale of genetically engineered, also known as GE, GMO, and Roundup Ready, sugar beets. The agency’s announcement is allowing the springtime planting of GE sugar beets in a way that’s never been done before, without a completed environmental impact study (EIS). “They’re going by the seat of their pants. They’ve never, ever done this with a plant,” says Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of the Center for Food Safety, an environmental watchdog group that’s been involved in litigation blocking GE crops, including past lawsuits challenging the approval of GE sugar beets, for years. Kimbrell learned of the GE sugar beet approval while attending the Pennsylvania Association of Sustainable in State College, where he gave a presentation regarding the dangers of GMOs and the general lack of benefits they offer to consumers. “They only offer risk,” he says.

THE DETAILS: Kimbrell says that approving the GE crops before the EIS is completed in 2012 means that the USDA can essentially ignore the major issues associated with genetically engineered sugar beets—genetic contamination of related crops such as table beets and chard, as well as conventional non-GMO sugar beets, along with the rise of superweeds caused by excessive spraying of the toxic herbicide Roundup. “They keep trying to find some way around the law and, really, at the behest of the biotech industry,” says Kimbrell.

The road to Roundup Ready sugar beets has been a long one. USDA and industry have been trying to push it through for years, but the crop has been kept out of fields thus far by four lawsuits in which Center for Food Safety has been involved. “It looks like we’re seeing Obama saying he’s going to be more business friendly, and within a couple of weeks we get GE alfalfa approved after it’s been held up for years, and now GE sugar beets. It looks like a flood of approvals as the administration tries to prove to business that it’s not about regulation, it’s about letting business have its way.”

WHAT IT MEANS: According to Michael Hansen, PhD, chief scientist at Consumer Union, 54 percent of U.S. sugar comes from sugar beets, and the rest from sugar cane. He says that 90 percent of the sugar beets out there are already GE, and the new approval, if not held back by litigation, will greatly increase GE sugar in the American food chain. (Because of strict U.S. import tariffs on imported sugar, 85 percent of the sugar on the U.S. market is domestic.) Like other food scientists, Hansen thinks this decision is premature. “I don't think it's a good idea,” he says. “The USDA will clearly have to deal with the problem of increased use of herbicide, even more so than with alfalfa," because sugar beets are related to weeds that could easily become herbicide resistant. Sugar beets are wind-pollinated crops, and they contaminate other crops, including weeds, by wind pollination. Their wild, weedy relatives could be contaminated by Roundup Ready genes, and yet another superweed would evolve.

And, Hansen adds, these unwanted crops are being funded by taxpayers. “All of these sugar beets are here because they’re being massively subsidized,” Hansen says, thanks to a powerful sugar industry that's as politically powerful as biotech companies and other commodity lobbyists. Currently, the government has plans to pump $1.4 billion into the sugar industry between 2008 and 2017.

Still, despite the recent barrage of GE crop approvals, Kimbrell is confident that between legal action and grassroots efforts, the pro-GMO tide in Washington can be turned. “We’ve stopped crop after crop after crop…GE wheat, rice, pharmaceuticals, alfalfa, and sugar beets,” says Kimbrell. “I’m confident judges are getting wise now that agencies aren’t regulating industries as much as appeasing them.”

Filed Under: GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS (GMO), ORGANIC FARMING

Published on: February 7, 2011



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Cannot have sure food. If I eat hereditary customized corn I am in ache for more than a few hours.
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Most people don't seem to

Most people don't seem to have these very same warning signals and simply wonder why they have such things as immune deficiency, cancer, irritable bowel, and many diseases which are on the rise today.Dillards coupons

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The street to Roundup Prepared sugars beets has been a significant one. USDA and market have been trying to energy it through for many, but the herbal remedies has been kept out of job locations thus far by four circumstances in which Middle for Meals Protection has been involved.news on boats

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I'm not going to say what everyone else has already said, but I do want to comment on your knowledge of the topic. You're truly well-informed. I cant believe how much of this I just wasn't aware of. I'm truly grateful and really impressed. Red Lobster

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If I eat the corrupted soy, canola, or sugar from sugar beets, in a few minutes my skin feels like it is crawling with huge ants biting me. Most people don't seem to have these very same warning signals and simply wonder why they have such things as immune deficiency, cancer, irritable bowel, and many diseases which are on the rise today.
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Their wild, weedy relatives

Their wild, weedy relatives could be contaminated by Roundup Ready genes, and yet another superweed would evolve.
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I'm not going to say what

I'm not going to say what everyone else has already said, but I do want to comment on your knowledge of the topic. You're truly well-informed. I cant believe how much of this I just wasn't aware of. I'm truly grateful and really impressed. Mother of the Groom

Their wild, weedy relatives

Their wild, weedy relatives could be contaminated by Roundup Ready genes, and yet another superweed would evolve.
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We seem to see Obama saying it will be more favorable to business, and a few weeks to get the approval of GM alfalfa after being held for years, and now GM sugar beet.
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Genetically modified crops

I am truly heartsick over what is happening in our nation. Monsanto-affiliated people are calling the shots, as they have high positions now in the FDA, EPA, and the USDA. They don't care if every single American wants to do away with GMOs. They are working for the corporation. Do people realize how serious this is? GMOs are so devastating to the environment, our soil integrity, our wildlife and animals, and our own human health that they are "the worst threat" to the survival of this small planet. GMOs do irreversible damage! I have been studying GMOs for over a year to try to determine why I cannot eat certain foods. If I eat genetically modified corn I am in pain for several hours. If I eat farmed fish which ate GMO corn I am in the same type of pain for several hours. WE are what we eat! There is no changing that! I am thankful that my healthy immune system says to me, "You can't eat that!". If I eat the corrupted soy, canola, or sugar from sugar beets, in a few minutes my skin feels like it is crawling with huge ants biting me. Most people don't seem to have these very same warning signals and simply wonder why they have such things as immune deficiency, cancer, irritable bowel, and many diseases which are on the rise today. Why does our government talk about better health care while it is allowing the dumping of these toxic despicable foods. The American people better wake up! The Europeans know better! We must boycott these kinds of foods which our legislators refuse to address for us. We can chose to eat organic now. However, the spreading of GMO crops will one day wipe out all organic. One day even the GMO crops won't grow because the soils will be destroyed. We are headed toward famines as this continues. Wake up people! It is later than we think! Planet Earth is all we have. We can't hide! Everything Monsanto says is lies, the exact opposite of what is reality. What will you do? Judith

GMO crops

I understand where and why Mr. Kimbrell feels his confidence is assured, but even though a very large percentage of the US (general consumers) is against all of these approvals, we get them anyway.

Until we get the powers that be to realize the possible danger here of just forging ahead, the opposition is going to try just as hard to obtain and retain approval of these products as Mr. Kimbrell believes in the necessity of defeating this product line.

Check here for some ways to help keep you and your family safer from other environmental factors also in our daily environment,
www.allergiesandalternativemedicine.com/environmental-allergies.html

GMO

Is it me or is GMO approval getting out of control.

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