San Francisco, CA—On Monday, June 21, the Supreme Court overturned a controversial ban on the genetically modified alfalfa seeds created by US biotech company Monsanto. In a 7-1 vote, the Court reversed a previous ruling by a federal appeals court judge in San Francisco that barred Monsanto from selling seeds due to their resistance to the popular weed killer Roundup.
Monsanto argued that the original ruling was based only on assumptions and that the federal court did not possess the power to ban alfalfa seed sales.
Although the Supreme Court voted in favor of Monsanto, it is now up to the U.S. Agriculture Department to decide whether or not genetically modified seeds are safe to be planted. States such as Oregon and California are adamant in their belief that USDA needs to further investigate the chance of cross-pollination.
The case represents a nationwide fight against GMOs and the ruling is a hard hit for not only farmers, but all members of non-GMO alliance groups. It is the duty of USDA to create regulations based on scientific facts and safety and proponents will fight until they receive adequate information. Potential deregulation will take at least a year of research, yet GMO opponents consider it a victory in the making.
Published in WholeFoods Magazine, August 2010 (published ahead of print on June 21, 2010)