USDA Says Yes to Genetically Engineered Sugarbeets—Kiss “Organic” Goodbye!

February 8, 2011
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sugarbeetThe US Department of Agriculture last Friday gave farmers the go-ahead to resume planting Roundup Ready sugarbeets—claiming it’s the only way to avoid a nationwide shortage of sugar!

Hot on the heels of the deregulation of genetically engineered (GE) alfalfa, the USDA said it would once again allow the GE sugarbeet to be planted, contrary to the order of district court judge Jeffrey S. White, who said a full environmental impact statement (EIS) needed to be done first. As the Wall Street Journal points out, an EIS of the type ordered by the judge is usually thousands of pages long and takes years to conduct. That would have kept the genetically modified sugarbeets out of the hands of farmers at least through 2012.

This would allow farmers to begin planting GE sugarbeets this spring. But the environmental and organic seed groups that originally sued the USDA said Friday they would ask Judge White to block this latest move by the USDA.

Processors say there aren’t enough non-GE sugarbeet seeds around for farmers to plant this spring. A study conducted for the sugar industry predicted that US sugar production would plunge 20% if the judge’s ban stays in place, and it appears this study alarmed food companies enough that they were able the pressure USDA into acting now. (For more on sugar and sweeteners, see our article elsewhere in this issue.)

In this case, the sugarbeets are being “partially deregulated”: USDA is permitting farmers to plant genetically modified sugarbeets this year only if they adhere to rules designed to prevent the plant’s wind-blown pollen from reaching organic fields, where its biotechnology traits could spread—though if the rules themselves prove ineffective, organic sugarbeets will be contaminated.

That contamination is what is most worrisome. The Organic Consumers Association had this to say about the deregulation of alfalfa: “[It is] guaranteed to spread its mutant genes and seeds across the nation; guaranteed to contaminate the alfalfa fed to organic animals; guaranteed to lead to massive poisoning of farm workers and destruction of the essential soil food web by the toxic herbicide, Roundup; and guaranteed to produce Roundup-resistant superweeds….” Health advocates have the same concerns about sugarbeets.

If you haven’t already done so, please visit our Action Alert page where you can write to President Obama, Congress, and the USDA, and tell them to reverse this terrible decision. Please contact them today!

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85 Responses to “USDA Says Yes to Genetically Engineered Sugarbeets—Kiss “Organic” Goodbye!”

  1. palva says:

    Where is the EPA ? What a joke. The environmental destruction agency is more like it. If the bees don’t recognize the junk as food, why should we eat the stuff that isn’t real.

       1 likes

  2. Death To Monsanto Products says:

    Genetically modified incidents of disaster are significant to all. Oats gone bad, sickened pollinators
    such as Monarch butterflies, honey bees colony collapse, bats white nose syndrome … to name only a few, oh people to. Monsanto seems to be paving its way systematically in hopes we will just get used to their resilient poisons in our food chain and others across the planet. Pesticides invited into our food chain by the Government is not desired in a NO CHOICE disastrous fashion and never will be. Please wake up but don’t smell anything as it may be GM.

       1 likes

  3. Shanimal says:

    jeanene the honey will be contaminated with GM Alfalfa pollen ;) you can’t get away from this stuff unless you eat organic, and GM Alfalfa all but guarantees there will be no organic (or at least a new definition for it) Google “GMO Ecological Disaster.”

    Choke it down while it still only causes cancer, various organ failure, lung disease, sterility… When roses start bleeding caustic pesticide, they’ll blame God.

       1 likes

  4. jeanene says:

    I agree with the post above.. we can always save our bees from extinction and enjoy their honey instead.

       0 likes

  5. God Help Us says:

    You have allowed HFCS, hormones, chemicals and more. Our kids are ovulating at at 6, boys cant reproduce, goiders everywhere, cancer is on the upswing, people are fat but dying from malnutrion. Now you allow Genetically altered plants, our bees are falling out of the sky and non existent, our birds are disappearing and our bats cant fly- animals show us the horror that is coming our way- remember the canaries in the mines? Soon, plants will no longer allow to seed thanks to Monsanto and its criminal enterprise all alowed because of profit and ignorance. With all our technology you would think we would be a great nation, but since you took charge our kids are dying faster than they did a century ago- with much greater disease and ailments.

       1 likes

  6. Given the obesity epidemic in the US — statistics in the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans indicate almost one-third of adults and one of every four children are now obese — why would reducing availability of sugar be seen as a bad outcome?

       1 likes

  7. Susan Hornbach says:

    Greed and ignorance is depleting our planet. The more we consume, the more the big business makes, the more they make, the more they deplete, the more they deplete, the more they need, the more they need, the more we need to fight wars, the more wars we fight, the angrier the world becomes, and all the while, big business is getting fat, not worrying one Iota about the panet, or human beings. It’s all about money which brings us right back to greed. Consume less. We don’t need as much as big business would like us to think we need, recycle on a personal basis, use phytonutrients to heal your body, and make better choices when we select our leaders. This administration is a disgrace. Look what Congress just pulled with the Food Safety, just a disgrace, not worth much. We have to just keep fighting the battle for the sake of our children.

       1 likes

  8. sara says:

    With so much sugar added to our mass produced prepared foods, and so much of our population unknowingly adiicted to sugar, salt and fat, we could afford to lessen the amounts of addded sugars to our foods and we would all be healthier for it. If we used less sugar , we wouldn’t have a so called shortage.

       1 likes

  9. sd7 says:

    I just don’t even know what to say. We are more powerful than this people, we MUST unite, there is no other choice.

       1 likes

  10. Barbara says:

    SHORTAGE OF SUGAR!!! Is it for REAL? With obbesity rate in this country?!?!?
    There is no shortage!!!

       0 likes

    • Rebecca Petrovic, LMT says:

      C’mon Barbara… they’ve been FATTENING us up for the slaughter… of course they are afraid of a sugar shortage!!

      I say VOTE EVERY LAST ONE of those ba$tards out of office, and terminate all the jerks at the FDA… then, arrest the Boards of Directors from all the companies (like Monsanto), seize all their ASSETS and charge them with conspiracy to murder millions of people… and the whole gamut of lies and fabrications they have put forth to get away with this!!

         1 likes

  11. WTF says:

    The proper solution is obvious. Lower the human population (stop breeding) and stop feeding these fat tubs of lard junk food. Simple. Too simple?

       0 likes

    • Jenelle says:

      The world is not overpopulated. We are routinely shown pictures of crowed cities in order to convey this idea. There are actually a number of societies that are becoming underpopulated and are not “breeding” enough to simply replace the current generation – they are losing ground. All of humanity can fit in a small percentage of the world’s landmass. For instance, everyone could fit nicely in Texas without overcrowding. Be careful what you believe. Who is to be gotten rid of to “lower” population? Who gets to decide?

         1 likes

    • Family says:

      Perfect!

         0 likes

    • Rebecca Petrovic, LMT says:

      When our people have been lied to, and misled about DIET products… you still think it is all about people stuffing their faces with junk food??

      You seem to be EXACTLY the ignorance that many of us on this site are railing against!!

         1 likes

  12. KISS says:

    I hope that the Human Nature never come in a ” Soilent Green ” Situation.
    But GMO is the DOOR OPENING to that.

    – POOR EARTHLINGS -

       0 likes

  13. Michael G says:

    I want to choose for myself whether or not I want to buy and consume genetically modified “foods”. These USDA approvals take that choice out my hands, and those of all Americans, for the sake of Big Agribusiness profits. It’s fundamentally wrong, and it’s wrong for USDA to allow these crops to come to market, without full disclosure labeling of the products containing genetically modified foodstuffs.

       0 likes

  14. Rene_M says:

    I am horrified by this news. We eat organic & have absolutely no wish to have this travesty growing. I once thought I was allergic to apples & grapes (gave me stomach cramps & worse) until I tried organic ones – that’s right no ill effects. i used to love corn on the cob, until it started giving me nasty blisters all over my lips & inside my mouth & on my tongue. No more corn consumed here-in any form.

    What we have forming is a dictatorship over our food supply ~ and here we thought we lived in a democracy !
    So many mothers are almost militant about the safety of their children, yet really do not seem to realize how insidious the entire GMO issue is.

       0 likes

    • Floyd L Cranmer Jr. says:

      Over 90% of US citizens want genetically engineered (GM) foods to be labeled, yet we are denied the Right to Know what is in or has been done to our food. We have known about the foxes in the hen house; Tom Vilsac former Monsanto lawyer, now Secretary of Agriculture and Michael Taylor, former Monsanto VP, now the FDA Food Safety Czar. Now as part of President Obama’s move to bridge the gap between government and business, it appears that Monsanto has been invited to move their corporate headquarters to the White House.
      In December District Judge Jeffrey White ruled against the USDA’s decision to approve GM sugar beets, stating they could harm consumers and the environment. He asked for an environmental impact statement to be filed. Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide has been found to trigger over 40 plant diseases, endangering human and animal health. Apparently with the backing of the White House, the USDA issued a statement allowing the planting of GM Roundup Ready sugar beets, claiming that it was necessary to avoid a 20% shortage in sugar production. The judge and consumers were over ruled. What has happened to our justice system?

         0 likes

      • Shanimal says:

        re: “Monsanto has been invited to move their corporate headquarters to the White House”

        Floyd are you smoking something? Where did you read this?

           0 likes

      • Montanarnch says:

        This is ridiculous, if you do not want genetically modified crops than buy organic you still have a choice. The major companies and the farmers are not the ones to blame for GM crops we the people are. Are demand for excess amounts of food at fast food restaurants, if it bothers you that bad buy a tractor and some seeds and grow your own crops until then let people who actually know what they are talking about make the decisions.

           0 likes

    • Jenelle says:

      Be careful about the “democracy” term. United States is actually supposed to be a constitutional republic complete with individual natural rights which cannot be taken away by law.

         0 likes

    • Dr. Manhattan says:

      This nation was tyrannical and fascist ever since the formation.
      And illusion given to the people about their so called power was smoke and mirrors.
      Going to take a lot more of us to fight to get anything done.

         0 likes

    • John B says:

      It doesn’t surprise me. The amazing thing is that people continue to believe in government to improve our lives. That has never been the case. It’s always been about big government, corporate welfare, social welfare and most importantly the ability of politicians to provide goodies in order to get either the resources for reelection or to be reelected. People need to start thinking radically!!! Free markets, elimination of laws against liability so that these companies can be sued for polluting crops, traceability on all foods so companies can be sued for all the illnesses related to the toxins they put into the food chain. Elimination of the USDA and FDA as they provide absolutely no benefit to the US public but just ensure monopolies for the big agricultural and pharmaceutical concerns. Repealing the 17th amendment so that Senators are elected by state legislators and therefore protect the interests of the states and therefore prevent this massive centralisation of power in the federal government and bureaucrats like Tom Vilsac and Michael Taylor. There are also technologies that could completely revolutionise agriculture by allowing for farming and the complete elimination of all types of pesticides, organic or conventional. It’s the GOVERNMENT that prevents and legislates against this. It’s no different in relation to sugar. We could easily buy sugar from Brazil or other countries in South America for 1/3 the price that is paid in the states. This is because the government has erected tariffs that prevent or render prohibitively expensive the importation of sugar from these countries. So for years we not only pay 3x more for sugar, but we provide massive subsidies for corn (one of the first GMO products). What do you think would happen if these subsidies were eliminated? The large agriculture companies couldn’t afford to compete because without the government subsidies, the farmers couldn’t survive with the form of agriculture dependent on massive use of pesticides like roundup. Wake up!!!

         0 likes

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