OTA deplores USDA action to proceed with genetically engineered sugar beets despite court order

Contact: Barbara Haumann (802-275-3820; bhaumann@ota.com

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Feb, 7, 2011)— The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has made a decision to continue to allow planting of St Louis based-Monsanto’s Roundup Ready sugar beets despite a court order to complete a final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) before making any decision on deregulation for genetically engineered (GE) sugar beets. The crop in question is genetically altered to tolerate increased application of toxic herbicides. Astoundingly, this decision comes one week after the USDA decision to release Roundup Ready alfalfa without restriction. Monsanto owns both the Roundup herbicide and the genetically altered crops.

“Once again, USDA has plowed ahead on genetically engineered crops, this time to approve a petition for partial deregulation, even though the courts have found that USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) failed to comply with National Environmental Policy Act mandates,” said Christine Bushway, Executive Director and CEO of the Organic Trade Association (OTA).

She added, “This direct affront to farmer and consumer choic