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Mar 20, 2010

U.S. Supreme Court Considers GM Alfalfa Case

Alfalfa Harvest
photo courtesy of
Oregon State University
On 27 April 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court will hold an oral hearing to consider whether to overturn a U.S. Federal Court ruling that has banned gene-modified (GM) alfalfa from planting since 2007.  The GM alfalfa is produced by Monsanto and is herbicide tolerant to RoundUp Ready.

The federal court injunction was issued by U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer of the Northern District of California.  The appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court is based on Monsanto's claim that the ban should not have been issued without an evidentiary hearing.

According to the Lincoln Journal-Star, before the ban, "Roundup Ready alfalfa was planted by 5,500 growers across 263,000 acres, including hundreds of acres in Nebraska. Alfalfa is the fourth-largest crop grown in the U.S., with 23 million acres grown in 48 U.S. states annually, but only about 1 percent of the crop [was] Roundup Ready."

The lawsuit in the U.S. federal court was filed by the Center for Food Safety and others against the USDA for "illegal approval of Monsanto's alfalfa, contending the agency failed to conduct an environmental impact statement, as required by law, before approving the crop."

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer has excused himself from the case as he is the brother of U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer who issued the initial ruling against Monsanto.

For more see: "Supreme Court considering GM alfalfa case," Lincoln Journal-Star, 20 March 2010.

About Margaret

CEO and Curator (The Food Museum) | Managing Director and Chief Editor (GR2 Global LLC) | Educator (UCLA PhD) | Researching and writing on global food issues, nutrition and health, sustainability, history (preservation), conservation (natural resources), and design.
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