Appeals court puts destruction of biotech sugar beets on hold
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco has blocked immediate destruction of a Roundup Ready sugar beet root crop, granting a temporary stay until Dec. 23, Agri-Pulse reports.
Ninth Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey White had ordered that beet stecklings, the root stock for seed-producing plants, be plowed under by Dec. 14. The Appeals Court decision was made in response for a request to appeal by Monsanto, American Crystal Sugar Co., Syngenta Seeds and Betaseed Inc.
The original lawsuit at the root of this battle was brought by several environmental groups, led by the Center for Food Safety, concerned that the modified genetic traits in the beets could spread through pollination to other closely related crops.
As regulators work to come up with new rules acceptable to the federal court, concern is growing over a market that farmers say is in limbo.
The New York Times reported last week that the duel over these sugar beet seeds could lead to a sharp decline in American sugar production in the next two years, leading to possible price increases for consumers and food processors.