U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White has ruled against the planting of genetically modified sugar beets. The ruling represents a new hurdle for biotech giant Monsanto Co., which engineered them. The ban, which doesn’t apply to any crops already planted or harvested, comes from an environmentalists’ lawsuit over Monsanto’s sugar beets, which were genetically engineered to resist Roundup. The weed-killer is also produced by Monsanto, and was sold to farmers as a package with the genetically modified beet seeds. These “Roundup Ready” crops have upped the use of herbicides and herbicide-resistant weeds, they say. Sugar beets make up over half the U.S. sugar supply, but conventional seeds are still widely available, so the decision shouldn’t affect sugar production.
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