GENET archive

[Index][Thread]

RISK ASSESSMENT: U.S. judge extends ban on planting geneticallyengineered alfalfa



                                 PART I
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------
TITLE:  Judge extends ban on planting genetically engineered alfalfa
SOURCE: San Francisco Chronicle, USA
AUTHOR: Bob Egelko
URL:    http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/05/03/
BAGBUPKL614.DTL
DATE:   03.05.2007
--------------------------------------------------------------------------


Judge extends ban on planting genetically engineered alfalfa

SAN FRANCISCO -- A federal judge extended his nationwide ban on the
planting of genetically engineered alfalfa Thursday and faulted federal
officials for approving an herbicide-resistant strain of the crop
without studying the dangers of contaminating other farmers' alfalfa or
breeding tougher weeds.

U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer of San Francisco rejected the U.S.
Department of Agriculture's assurances that the genetically altered
Monsanto Co. product could be safely grown while the department reviewed
its effects on the environment. The product's seeds, spread by winds and
bees, have already affected some nearby crops of organic and
conventional alfalfa since the department authorized sales in June 2005,
Breyer said.

"The contamination cannot be undone," he said. "It will destroy the
crops of those farmers who do not sell genetically engineered
alfalfa. ... It is not in the public interest to take action that has
the potential of eliminating the availability of a non-genetically
engineered crop without adequate investigation into the long-term impact
of such action."

This is the first time that a judge has halted the planting of a
commercially sold, genetically altered crop that the government had
approved, said Will Rostov, lawyer for the Center for Food Safety, a San
Francisco organization that led environmental and organic-farming
advocates in the lawsuit.

Alfalfa, used for hay and cattle feed, is grown on 23 million acres and
is the nation's fourth-largest crop. California, with 1 million acres,
is the leading producer.

Breyer had issued an injunction in February that, as of March 30,
prohibited the planting of Monsanto's Roundup Ready alfalfa, so named
because it is resistant to Monsanto's Roundup herbicide. Thursday's
order prolongs the injunction at least until the government completes an
environmental study that examines the possible impact on other farmers'
crops and on human health, and the potential that pollination of nearby
weeds would make them Roundup-resistant.

The judge said the government violated federal law by approving the
product without conducting an environmental review. He said federal
officials refused to analyze the likelihood of genetic contamination and
how it could be eliminated or minimized, and instead insisted that it
was up to other growers to protect their crops.

Breyer declined to prohibit harvesting of Roundup Ready alfalfa that has
already been planted, but told the department to order growers to take
steps to reduce the risk of genetic contamination, including specified
equipment-cleaning procedures and separation of the product from other
alfalfa.

He said 76 farmers are growing the seeds on 220,000 acres, an area that
he said would increase five-fold by next year if new planting was
allowed. In prohibiting further planting during the environmental
review, Breyer said the agriculture department could not guarantee that
interim measures it has proposed to prevent contamination would be
enforceable or effective.

"Allowing an expansion of the Roundup Ready alfalfa market pending the
preparation of the (environmental review) would be unprecedented," the
judge said. Rachel Iadicicco, spokeswoman for the department's Animal
and Plant Health Inspection Service, said her agency was reviewing the
ruling but would conduct the study ordered by Breyer. The agency has
estimated the study will take two years.

Monsanto said it was disappointed by the ruling and would consider an
appeal. The company said its own studies and surveys by other nations'
regulatory agencies have found that its product can be grown without
affecting other varieties of alfalfa.

"We support a farmer's right to choose biotechnology, organic or
conventional crops with the proper stewardship practices that make
coexistence feasible," Jerry Steiner, Monsanto's executive vice
president, said in a statement. "We have heard from farmers across the
country who are disappointed they can't access this technology."

But Rostov of the Center for Food Safety said the ruling allows growers
to choose non-genetically modified crops without fear of involuntary
cross-pollination. The organization's executive director, Andrew
Kimbrell, said organic farmers and most conventional alfalfa growers
would benefit.

"This crop represents a very real threat to their crops and their
livelihood," Kimbrell said. "This ruling is a turning point in the
regulation of biotech crops in this country."


-------------------- archived at  http://www.gene.ch/ --------------------


                                 PART II
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------
TITLE:  Judge orders impact study on Roundup Ready alfalfa
SOURCE: Capital Press, USA
AUTHOR: Elizabeth Larson
URL:    http://www.capitalpress.info/main.asp?
SectionID=94&SubSectionID=801&ArticleID=32069&TM=4317.131
DATE:   03.05.2007
--------------------------------------------------------------------------


Judge orders impact study on Roundup Ready alfalfa

A federal judge on Thursday made permanent an injunction against
planting genetically modified alfalfa seed until the US Department of
Agriculture conducts a full environmental impact study.

Thursday's decision by Judge Charles Breyer of Federal Northern District
of California essentially re-regulates Roundup Ready alfalfa, which the
USDA deregulated in June 2005.

USDA told the court that it would take about two years to conduct the
required environmental impact study, according to court documents.
During that time, no additional GM alfalfa may be planted.

Monsanto and Forage Genetics Inc. developed Roundup Ready alfalfa, which
is tolerant of glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup
herbicide.

Geertson Seed Farms and several co-plaintiffs, including the Center for
Food Safety and the Sierra Club, filed the federal suit against USDA in
February 2006.

The lawsuit argued that the USDA's deregulation decision was illegal
because a thorough environmental impact study wasn't completed, although
an environmental assessment was done, and that GM alfalfa could harm the
environment and conventional alfalfa crops, according to court records.

In February, Breyer found that the USDA had violated the National
Environmental Protection Act when it went forward with deregulation
without the environmental impact study. Breyer found USDA had not
adequately assessed the risk of GE alfalfa contaminating convention and
organic crops, court documents report. A month later he issued a
temporary injunction on seed sales and planting that went into effect
March 30.

This recent ruling requires Forage Genetics to provide the locations of
all existing Roundup Ready alfalfa plots to USDA within 30 days so that
growers can test their crops for possible contamination. Breyer asserts
in the ruling that contamination of organic and conventional alfalfa
already has occurred.

Like the March ruling, however, Breyer allows Roundup Ready Alfalfa that
was planted before March 30 to be grown, harvested and sold as forage.

Monsanto and Forage Genetics International said in a statement released
after the decision that they had provided extensive dossiers to USDA
outlining stewardship practices which allowed Roundup Ready alfalfa to
coexist with organic and convention alfalfa. The companies asserted that
other regulatory agencies, including those of Japan and Canada, found
the crop to be environmentally safe.

Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of the Center for Food Safety,
called the ruling "a turning point in the regulation of biotech crops in
this country." Kimbell said that GM alfalfa poses a "very real" threat
to the crops and livelihood of both conventional and organic farmers.

Monsanto post-ruling statement said that the company was disappointed
with the decision, which it said restricts farmers from access to
important technology.

"The last decade has shown that biotech and organic crops have
successfully co-existed," said Jerry Steiner, Monsanto's executive vice
president, in that statement. "We support a farmer's right to choose
biotechnology, organic or conventional crops with the proper stewardship
practices that make co-existence feasible."

Monsanto' statement noted that the company is reviewing its options,
including a possible appeal of Breyer's ruling.


-------------------- archived at  http://www.gene.ch/ --------------------


                                 PART III
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------
TITLE:  Judge bars genetically modified alfalfa
SOURCE: The Associated Press, by Paul Elias
AUTHOR: Forbes, USA
URL:    http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2007/05/03/ap3684363.html
DATE:   03.05.2007
--------------------------------------------------------------------------


Judge bars genetically modified alfalfa

A federal judge Thursday barred the planting of genetically engineered
alfalfa nationwide until the government can adequately study the crop's
potential impact on organic and conventional varieties.

U.S. District Court Judge Charles Breyer made permanent a temporary ban
he ordered in March on alfalfa with genetic material from bacteria that
makes the crop resistant to the popular weed killer Roundup.

Breyer said the U.S. Department of Agriculture must conduct a detailed
scientific study of Roundup Ready alfalfa's effect on the environment
and other alfalfa varieties before deciding whether to approve it.

USDA spokeswoman Rachel Iadicicco said the agency would conduct the
study, which could take up to two years to complete.

The Center for Food Safety in Washington, D.C., had sued on behalf of
farmers who argued that the genetically engineered seed could
contaminate organic and conventional alfalfa varieties. Alfalfa farmers
grow the crop primarily for livestock feed.

Monsanto Co. (nyse: MON - news - people ), the St. Louis-based biotech
company that developed the crop and makes the weed killer, and Forage
Genetics International, which is licensed to sell it, argued that the
alfalfa would actually benefit the environment because fewer weed
killers would be used.

Breyer sided with organic farmers and conventional growers who fear lost
sales if their crops are contaminated by genetically engineered plants.

"The harm to these farmers and consumers who do not want to purchase
genetically engineered alfalfa or animals fed with such alfalfa
outweighs the economic harm to Monsanto, Forage Genetics International
and those farmers who desire to switch to Roundup Ready alfalfa," Breyer
wrote.

Some 220,000 acres of genetically engineered alfalfa were planted this
year before the judge's ban went into effect. The judge ordered those
farmers to ensure their crops do not contaminate adjacent fields of alfalfa.

The ruling is a major triumph for anti-biotech crusaders, who have been
fighting the proliferation of genetically engineered crops. It is the
first ban placed on such crops since the first variety - the Flavr Savr
tomato - was approved in 1994.

"This permanent halt to the planting of this risky crop is a great
victory for the environment," said Will Rostov, a Center for Food Safety
attorney. "Roundup Ready alfalfa poses threats to farmers, to our export
markets, and to the environment."

Monsanto officials said they are considering an appeal.

"We support a farmer's right to choose biotechnology, organic or
conventional crops with the proper stewardship practices that make
coexistence feasible," Monsanto Executive Vice President Jerry Steiner
said. "We have heard from farmers across the country who are
disappointed they can't access this technology."

Monsanto's share price rose 92 cents to $59.55 in afternoon trading.

A message left at Forage Genetics was not immediately returned.

Alfalfa, which is used for livestock feed and can be planted in spring
or fall, is a major crop grown on about 21 million acres in the country.
California is the nation's largest alfalfa producer, growing the crop on
about 1 million acres, primarily in the San Joaquin Valley.

(This version CORRECTS Forage Genetics name to Forage Genetics International.)


-------------------- archived at  http://www.gene.ch/ --------------------


                                 PART IV
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------
TITLE:  Federal Judge oders first-ever halt to planting of a
        commercialized genetically-altered crop
SOURCE: Center for Food Safety, USA
AUTHOR: Press Release
URL:    http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/AlfalfaFinalInjPR5_3_07.cfm
DATE:   03.05.2007
--------------------------------------------------------------------------


Federal Judge oders first-ever halt to planting of a commercialized
genetically-altered crop
Judge Breyer orders complete environmental review of Monsanto's gene-
altered alfalfa

San Francisco, CA, May 3, 2007 - A Federal judge today made a final
ruling that the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) 2005 approval
of Monsanto's genetically engineered (GE) "Roundup Ready" alfalfa was
illegal. The Judge called on USDA to ban any further planting of the GE
seed until it conducts a complete Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)
on the GE crop.

In the decision, Judge Charles Breyer in the Federal Northern District
of California affirmed his preliminary ruling, which echoed the Center
for Food Safety's arguments in their lawsuit against USDA, that the crop
could harm the environment and contaminate natural alfalfa. Today's
ruling also requires Forage Genetics to provide the locations of all
existing Roundup Ready alfalfa plots to USDA within 30 days. The Judge
ordered USDA to make the location of these plots "publicly available as
soon as practicable" so that growers of organic and conventional alfalfa
"can test their own crops to determine if there has been contamination."

"This permanent halt to the planting of this risky crop is a great
victory for the environment," said Will Rostov, a Senior Attorney for
CFS. "Roundup Ready alfalfa poses threats to farmers, to our export
markets, and to the environment. We expect the USDA to abide by the law
and insure that American farmers are protected from genetic contamination."

Today's decision is consistent with Judge Breyer's ruling of February
13th, in which Judge Breyer found that the USDA failed to address
concerns that Roundup Ready alfalfa will contaminate conventional and
organic alfalfa. In calling today for a permanent injunction, Judge
Breyer noted that contamination of natural and organic alfalfa by the GE
variety has already occurred, and noted that "Such contamination is
irreparable environmental harm. The contamination cannot be undone."

"This ruling is good news for organic farmers and most conventional
farmers across the country," said Andrew Kimbrell, Executive Director of
the Center. "This crop represents a very real threat to their corps and
their livelihood. This ruling is a turning point in the regulation of
biotech crops in this country," Kimbrell concluded.

The permanent injunction ordered today by Judge Breyer follows his
ruling last month finding that USDA violated national environmental laws
by approving GE alfalfa without a full Environmental Impact Statement.
Monsanto and Forage Genetics, the developers of the GE alfalfa seed,
failed to convince the Judge that their interests outweighed the public
interest in food safety, freedom to farm natural crops, and
environmental protection. In fact, Judge Breyer specifically noted that
Monsanto's fear of lost sales "does not outweigh the potential
irreparable damage to the environment."

The Center for Food Safety initiated the legal action resulting in
today's ruling in February 2006, representing itself and the following
co-plaintiffs in the suit: Western Organization of Resource Councils,
National Family Farm Coalition, Sierra Club, Beyond Pesticides,
Cornucopia Institute, Dakota Resource Council, Trask Family Seeds, and
Geertson Seed Farms. For more information, please visit
www.centerforfoodsafety.org.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 
 
Contact: Will Rostov, Center for Food Safety, 415-826-2770
 (415) 307-2154 (cell)
 John Bianchi, Goodman Media, 212-576-2700


-------------------- archived at  http://www.gene.ch/ --------------------


                                 PART V
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------
TITLE:  Monsanto Company disappointed with Court decision against the USDA
        which suspends the planting of Roundup Ready alfalfa
SOURCE: Monsanto, USA
AUTHOR: Press Release
URL:    http://monsanto.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=43&item=486
DATE:   03.05.2007
--------------------------------------------------------------------------


Monsanto Company disappointed with Court decision against the USDA which
suspends the planting of Roundup Ready alfalfa
Company considering appeal of decision that restricts farmer choice and
productivity

ST. LOUIS, May 3 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Monsanto Company is
disappointed with the decision of the U.S. District Court, for the
Northern District of California to not allow farmers to resume planting
Roundup Ready alfalfa until the U.S. Department of Agriculture completes
an environmental impact statement. Roundup Ready alfalfa that was
planted by March 30, 2007 can still be grown, harvested and sold as forage.

The injunction was issued by the court following a lawsuit brought by
the Center for Food Safety and others against the USDA as Geertson Seed
Farms, Inc. et. al v. Mike Johanns, et. al.

Monsanto Company petitioned the court to become a party in the case to
defend grower choice to use the technology. The company is reviewing its
options, including the possibility of an appeal of the court's decision.

Despite previous acceptance that Roundup Ready alfalfa posed no harm to
humans and livestock, the court upheld its decision that the USDA did
not adequately follow procedural requirements as detailed by the
National Environmental Policy Act before deregulating Roundup Ready
alfalfa. Under the Plant Protection Act the court maintained that prior
to deregulation of Roundup Ready alfalfa the USDA would have to prepare
an environmental impact statement in place of the environmental
assessment that was completed.

To support its argument that growers should have continued access to the
technology, Monsanto presented its extensive regulatory and
environmental studies on Roundup Ready alfalfa. It also described
successful stewardship practices that allow the coexistence of organic,
conventional and Roundup Ready alfalfa. Other regulatory agencies around
the world, including Canada and Japan, have confirmed the environmental
safety of Roundup Ready alfalfa.

One of the plaintiffs' claims against Roundup Ready alfalfa was that it
would cross-pollinate with organic alfalfa. Monsanto Company and Forage
Genetics International have shown that with proper stewardship and
planting the two types of cropping systems can successfully coexist.
This is supported by various academic studies and real life examples. In
fact, Don Cameron, a Helm, Calif., farmer grows a number of organic and
biotech crops including organic and Roundup Ready alfalfa. "Proper
stewardship makes it possible to grow both organic and biotech crops.
We've successfully accomplished this for nearly a decade on our
operation and plan to continue," Cameron stated.

"The last decade has shown that biotech and organic crops have
successfully co-existed," said Jerry Steiner, executive vice president
for Monsanto Company. "We support a farmer's right to choose
biotechnology, organic or conventional crops with the proper stewardship
practices that make coexistence feasible. We have heard from farmers
across the country who are disappointed they can't access this technology."

The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), a voluntary farm
organization, filed a friend-of-the-court legal brief outlining the
organization's stance. AFBF contends "that a peaceful co-existence can
be achieved" through implementation of the USDA's precautions contained
in its proposed order. AFBF submitted the brief to provide information
to the court regarding the relative harm a permanent injunction would
likely impose on farmers who wish to plant Roundup Ready alfalfa.

Monsanto licenses its traits for Roundup Ready alfalfa to Forage
Genetics International who sells Roundup Ready alfalfa seed.

Monsanto Company is a leading global provider of technology-based
solutions and agricultural products that improve farm productivity and
food quality. For more information, please visit http://www.monsanto.com/.


Note to editors: Roundup Ready is a registered trademark of Monsanto
Technology LLC.
SOURCE: Monsanto Company
CONTACT: Andrew Burchett, +1-314-694-4452, or Darren Wallis,
+1-314-694-5674, both of Monsanto Company
Web site: http://www.monsanto.com/
Company News On-Call: http://www.prnewswire.com/comp/114341.html


-------------------- archived at  http://www.gene.ch/ --------------------


                                 PART VI
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------
TITLE:  Tulare County farmer joins fight to restore Roundup Ready alfalfa
        seed sales
SOURCE: Western Farm Press, USA
AUTHOR: Harry Cline
URL:    http://westernfarmpress.com/news/042507-seed-sales/
DATE:   25.04.2007
--------------------------------------------------------------------------


Tulare County farmer joins fight to restore Roundup Ready alfalfa seed sales

Prominent Tulare County, Calif. farmer and dairyman Mark Watte has
become an intervening party in the lawsuit filed by radical
environmentalists who have been successful in temporarily halting the
sale of Roundup Ready alfalfa seed.

The preliminary injunction to stop seed sales was issued in a lawsuit
pending in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

However, the preliminary injunction allows continued harvest, sale and
feeding of Roundup Ready alfalfa.

"As a producer I am concerned about where this lawsuit goes and the
impact it might have on advancing agricultural technology," said Watte,
a second generation San Joaquin Valley farmer.

The plaintiffs' won a temporary injunction halting seed sales until an
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is prepared. Monsanto, Forage
Genetics, Watte and two other growers who have intervened in the lawsuit
say an EIS is unnecessary and would result in $250 million in loses to
growers, seed companies and Monsanto.

A hearing on the injunction is scheduled for April 27 before a federal
district court judge in Northern California who ruled in February that
USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) did not follow
the proper process in assessing possible environmental affects of
Roundup Ready alfalfa.

Watte said this case is not about the environment or the impact of
Roundup Ready alfalfa seed production on non-transgenic or organic
alfalfa seed.

"It is basically a sham by the same environmental groups who want to
stop any application of new technology in agriculture," said Watte, who
may testify in the case.

The temporary injunction sent shock waves through California where an
estimated 200,000 acres of Roundup Ready varieties are already planted.
There are 1.1 million acres of alfalfa in the state.

There were widespread concerns initially after the ruling that growers
would not be allowed to harvest and sell RR hay, but the judge ruled it
was safe to continue to grow it. He only halted seed sales and precluded
planting any new stands after March 30 until he holds a hearing on the
temporary injunction. That did not impact Western alfalfa since most of
the California hay is planted by then anyway. However, it did halt
planting in the Midwest where alfalfa is not planted until June.

Watte said he had not heard those concerns.

"The only comments I have heard about Roundup Ready alfalfa is how clean
and weed free it is," said the farmer/dairyman.

Watte said the remarkable growth in Roundup-resistant alfalfa since it
was approve for sale last year is due to the success of similar
herbicide-resistant transgenic technology in cotton and corn. "Growers
have seen what it can do there and have been quick to accept the same
technology in alfalfa," said Watte. Seed marketers expect Roundup Ready
alfalfa stands to represent as much as 80 percent of the state's acreage

In filing paperwork to intervene, Monsanto and Forage genetics provided
numerous expert declarations detailing how Roundup Ready alfalfa can be
grown in successful co-existence with conventional or organic crops.

"The stewardship requirements proposed by USDA for isolation distances,
harvesting, storage, and cleanup practices are based upon scientific
evidence and eliminate any 'likelihood of substantial and immediate
irreparable injury' to conventional or organic growers," according to
court papers filed by Monsanto in March.

According to the company, since field trials began in 1998, Roundup
Ready alfalfa has been reviewed by three separate federal agencies--the
U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the U.S.

Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture
and "has met every safety prerequisite for commercial use."

Attorneys for Monsanto and Forage Genetics point out that the judge who
issued the temporary injunction said "Roundup Ready alfalfa does not
have any harmful effects on humans or livestock." Thus, the issue before
the Court is not whether Roundup Ready alfalfa poses any public health
or safety risk.

"Instead, the questions are: whether continued commercial planting and
use of Roundup Ready alfalfa threatens to 'eliminate a farmer's choice
to grow non-genetically engineered crop," particularly over the 18-24
month period required for USDA to complete its environmental impact report.

"If any such risk exists, how it can be balanced against the real and
immediate harm plaintiffs' proposed relief would inflict on the
thousands of farmers who use Roundup Ready alfalfa and on those who
produce Roundup Ready alfalfa, including seed companies, seed growers,
Forage Genetics International, and Monsanto."

Already, USDA has imposed a 1,500 foot isolation of Roundup Ready
alfalfa seed produced with leafcutter bees, nearly double the distance
for foundation seed production. The isolation is three miles for seed
produced with honeybees, 17 times what is required for foundation seed.

"We are hopeful that a reasoned approach in this matter will address
questions about the regulatory approval process for Roundup Ready
alfalfa while maintaining farmer access to this beneficial technology,"
said Jerry Steiner, executive vice president for Monsanto. "The
extensive regulatory dossier for Roundup Ready alfalfa, combined with
farmer stewardship agreements, provides a robust and responsible
approach to managing the environmental questions raised by the
plaintiffs in this case."

Monsanto, Forage Genetics International and several farmers were granted
intervener status in this case on March 8. Oral arguments on making the
injunction permanent are scheduled for April 27.

The lawsuit was brought by the Center for Food Safety and others against
the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) as Geertson Seed Farms Inc.
and others against USDA Secretary Mike Johanns.

Monsanto Company said in this case the court ruled that USDA had failed
to follow procedural requirements of the National Environmental Policy
Act in granting non-regulated status to Roundup Ready alfalfa under the
Plant Protection Act, and would have to prepare an Environmental Impact
Statement.

In the decision issued in mid-February, the judge ruled that USDA's
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) did not follow the
proper process in assessing possible environmental affects of Roundup
Ready alfalfa.

Will Restov, senior attorney for The Center for Food Safety called the
judge's temporary injunction "another nail in the coffin for USDA's
hands-off approach to regulations on these risky engineered crops."
These "risky engineered crops" are now grown on 222 million acres in 21
countries, an 11 percent jump in one year. The U.S. acreage is about 123
million in biotech crops. When first introduced commercially in 1996,
4.3 million acres were in biotech crops in six countries.

The Center for Food Safety represented itself and the following co-
plaintiffs in the suit: Western Organization of Resource Councils,
National Family Farm Coalition, Sierra Club, Beyond Pesticides,
Cornucopia Institute, Dakota Resource Council, Trask Family Seeds, and
Geertson Seed Farms.

Several of the organizations who have joined in the fight with the two
seed companies have staged an ongoing legal and public relations
campaign against biotech crops in California and elsewhere. Many also
were involved in trying to get genetically modified crops banned in
several California counties. Their efforts largely failed.

Many of their arguments about cross contamination and contamination of
organic crops used in the Roundup Ready alfalfa lawsuit were also used
unsuccessfully to ban biotech crops in California.

"The plaintiffs describe Roundup Ready alfalfa as a threat to the
production of conventional and/or organic alfalfa production," Steiner
said. "They project an either/or scenario when evidence and experience
show that sensible stewardship practices make it possible for these
different production systems to coexist."

Roundup Ready crops have been grown successfully alongside conventional
and organic crops for more than a decade. In fact, the rapidly
increasing demand for and adoption of the Roundup Ready system by
growers has demonstrated the ability of alternative cropping systems to
successfully co-exist.

USDA data for 2005 indicate that of the more than 22 million acres of
alfalfa grown, roughly 200,000 acres of this total was certified as
organic production.

The suit also cited the urgent concerns of farmers who sell to export
markets. Japan and South Korea, who have "warned that they will
discontinue imports of U.S. alfalfa if a GE variety is grown in this country."

Japan has approved importing hay from RR alfalfa fields.


-------------------- archived at  http://www.gene.ch/ --------------------


-- 
GENET-news

the news & information service of the
European NGO Network on Genetic Engineering

contact:
Hartmut MEYER (Mr)

phone....... +49-531-5168746
fax......... +49-531-5168747
email....... hartmut.meyer(*)genet-info.org
skype....... hartmut_meyer
url......... www.genet-info.org