The Supreme Court has decided to hear its first case about genetically engineered crops
The case, Monsanto v. Geertson Seed Farms, involve Monsanto's Roundup ready alfalfa seeds. The Center for Food Safety is saying that the US Department of Agriculture's approval of the GE alfalfa was illegal, and the battle has been going on since 2006.
In '06, the Center for Food Safety took Monsanto to court on behalf of food producers who did not want to grow the Roundup ready alfalfa or worry about cross-contamination from GE seeds growing nearby. The CFS won that case and two appeals by Monsanto. Now, Monsanto has convinced the Supreme Court to hear the case.
Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of the Center for Food Safety, said:
This is truly a ‘David versus Goliath’ struggle, between public interest non-profits and a corporation bent on nothing less than domination of our food system. That Monsanto has pushed this case all the way to the Supreme Court, even though USDA’s court-ordered analysis is now complete, and the U.S. government actively opposed further litigation in this matter, underscores the great lengths that Monsanto will go to further its mission of patent control of our food system and selling more pesticides.
The court-ordered analysis he's referring to was the result of a federal district court ruling in 2007. It demanded that the USDA create an Environmental Impact Statement on the impact the crop would have on farmers and the environment. This was huge, because it was the first time the U.S. government had done any analysis like this on a GE crop.
I'm definitely interested in seeing where this goes. A Supreme Court ruling would set a strong precedent for the future of genetic engineering. If they uphold the federal court ruling from 2007, it will send a powerful message about GE crops, testing, and food safety.
Image: Alfalfa Fields in Idaho. Creative Commons photo by tea_time