On June 21st, the United States Supreme Court ruled in the genetically engineered (GE) alfalfa case, leaving the ban on planting of roundup ready alfalfa in place. This is a historic moment as it’s the first time the Supremes have ruled on GE crops.
In Monsanto v. Geerston Farms, the first genetically modified crop case ever brought before the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court ruled 7-1 in favor of Monsanto, reversing part of the lower courts’ rulings. However, the judgment ruled that the ban on planting Roundup Ready Alfalfa (RRA) remains until the USDA once again deregulates the crop through a new agency action. This is a major victory for the Center for Food Safety, Farmers and Consumers. And I’m proud that I was part of this historic case!
In the majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito, the Court held: “In sum…the vacatur of APHIS’s deregulation decision means that virtually no RRA (Roundup Ready Alfalfa) can be grown or sold until such time as a new deregulation decision is in place, and we also know that any party aggrieved by a hypothetical future deregulation decision will have ample opportunity to challenge it, and to seek appropriate preliminary relief, if and when such a decision is made.” Critically, the Court also recognized that the threat of genetic contamination from GE crops is harmful and onerous to organic and conventional farmers and that the injury allows them to challenge future government approvals of new GE crops.
You may have read press reporting that the 7-1 decision announced by the Supreme Court today went entirely in Monsanto’s favor. To no surprise, Monsanto’s PR machine worked hard to spin the truth indicating full victory. However, while complicated, the decision is in many ways a victory for organic farmers and a defeat for Monsanto. Fundamentally, the GE alfalfa ban remains in place.
For a great piece written by Andrew Kimbrell, Center for Food Safety Executive Director, “Supreme Court Case a Defeat for Monsanto’s Ambitions”, go here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/andrew-kimbrell/supreme-court-case-a-defe_b_620087.html
For a great Grist article, “Supreme Court’s ruling on Monsanto’s GE alfalfa: Who won?”, go here: http://www.grist.org/article/food-supreme-court-ruling-on-monsanto-alfalfa/
For further background information on the history of this case and scientific studies, go here: http://truefoodnow.org/publications/supreme-court-briefs/.
For the June 21 press release on this case, go here: http://truefoodnow.org/2010/06/21/supreme-court-ruling-in-monsanto-case-is-victory-for-center-for-food-safety-farmers/#more-1217
For the full Supreme Court decision, go here: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/09pdf/09-475.pdf