Genetically Engineered Beets at the Center of Food Safety Debate

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Fact: Beet deregulation would be a boon to Schrute family farms
Beets are not always the preferred vegetable on one's plate, but they are considered among the healthier foods we eat -- until they're not.

Food Safety groups are challenging beet growers who are attempting to plant genetically engineered sugar beets in the ground this spring. They claim the method has not received a full environmental review, which makes the health and safety of the beets questionable.

The GE sugar beets have long been at the center of debate over food safety. Last year, The Center for Food Safety sued the U.S.Department of Agriculture for allowing farmers to plant beets without proper environmental review, claiming that it's both risky and illegal. The Center won its battle in court and a judge forced hundreds of genetically engineered sugar beets to be pulled from the ground.

The USDA appealed and the 9th Circuit Court issued a stay of the injunction. On Feb. 4, the USDA signed off on permits allowing farmers to start planting sugar beets in the spring -- a direct violation of the National Environmental Policy Act, according to the complaint.


Now, the Center is challenging that move. It filed a new complaint in a San Francisco courtroom on Wednesday.

Food safety advocates claim the springtime planting could have devastating impacts on public health and the surrounding environment; it could contaminate other sugar beet crops, and closely related crops, including chard, and table beets.

The Center calls the USDA's approval of the beet planting  a "commercialization scheme."

"Roundup ready crops are more susceptible to disease," the Center said in its complaint.

And apparently, they are also susceptible to lawsuits.

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Ella Baker
Ella Baker

TheU.S. is attempting to outlaw non-GMO labeling of foods, thereby making itillegal for a non-GMO food product to even claim "non-GMO" on thelabel. This would result in a global GMO cover-up as consumers are left in thedark about whether their foods are genetically modified or not.  

Liz K
Liz K

Ella and others - you might be interested to know that there is a campaign gathering momentum to label GMOs in California (www.labelgmos.org). We're aiming to get a labeling initiative on the 2012 ballot. We'll likely begin gathering signatures to put it on the ballot in October and can use as much help as we can get. You can connect with the SF group here: http://www.facebook.com/#!/Rig...

Ella Baker
Ella Baker

Therecent complete cave-in on the issue of GMO Alfalfa regulation - basicallygiving Monsanto and Forge complete freedom in the marketplace, is a seriousblow to natural foods and American freedom to choose organic foods overso-called "frankenfoods." Vilsack's previous close ties to Monsantomay well be the reason of this regrettable decision to release GMO Alfalfawithout regulation anywhere inside the USA. You can take action by stayinginformed and spreading the word at http://geneticallyengineeredfo...

agirlfarmer
agirlfarmer

I think it is important to understand the difference between beets you eat on your plate,Beta vulgaris, Golden) and if you have never had a roasted golden beet you are missing out, and sugar beets(Beta vulgaris var altissima) which are processed into the yes, you guessed it every single thing containing sugar unless noted it is cane sugar.

The issue food issue is not just beets, it is alfalfa, salmon, corn, soybeans, and wheat. The issue is spraying glyphosphate to kill the weeds that make these crops produce less. The issue is NOT labeling GMO foodstuff - calling it materially the same yet patenting it as unique. Which is it boys, unique enough to patent - or materially the same that it does not require labeling. Down the poison trail we go with the SAME company that brought us - what you say MONSANTO no it couldn't be could it? Come on this is bull crappy at the highest corporate in bed with the USDA level and the end game is one in which we have no clue how it will effect human genetics or for that matter noxious weeds that may eventually be resistant anyway -yuck!

agirlfarmer
agirlfarmer

I meant the company that brought us Agent Orange - yep the self same dioxin poisoning bird killing, rainbow herbicide...DDT

Bubbadea
Bubbadea

Who eats beets? Nobody I know.

Lance
Lance

You east lots of beet sugar unless you insist on buying only cane sugar at the supermarket. The beets from which sugar are made are the ones affected by these legal actions. I personally eat regular ol' red beets because I line them, but these beets are outside the purview of this action.

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