Federal District Judge Jeffrey White issued a preliminary injunction on November 30th ordering the immediate destruction of 256 acres of genetically engineered Monsanto-produced, sugarbeet seedlings planted in early September in the United States.

This was brought on by a lawsuit filed by The Center for Food Safety and other groups concerned about the sugarbeets being planted without proper environmental review despite approvals from the USDA for them to be planted. The concern is that the crops will cause cross-pollinating and contamination of nearby non-GE crops, however the defendant states they were planted in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act and the Plant Protection Act.  

On December 7th the United States Court of Appeals issued an appeal for a temporary stay of Judge White’s injunction, extending until December 23rd to allow time to consider briefing from the USDA to overturn the injunction.

The Court’s ruling does not affect the 2010 Roundup Ready sugarbeet seed crop, which had been planted earlier in the year prior to the September permits. Seedlings produced in 2010 would supply seed for root crop growers in the 2012 season or material for further breeding of improved varieties. This decision is unrelated to the pending USDA decision on whether to allow the Roundup Ready sugarbeet crop that farmers hope to plant in 2011.