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Who Really Won the Supreme Court Decision on the GM Alfalfa Ban?

The Supreme Court issued a ruling on a ban on genetically modified alfalfa seeds that has both Monsanto and environmentalists claiming a win. So who won?

There’s a touch of both. But Monsanto doesn’t come out as clear as they want people to think. They still can’t have their GM alfalfa grown commercially until it’s proven safe enough for the environment. The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has to review it first for safety.

That’s where Monsanto could win this one, to my disappointment, although that wasn’t what the Supreme Court was ruling on. So far APHIS thinks the alfalfa is safe. They have a lot of comments to review before giving approval, but it concerns me that they might approve it.

A big plus is that the Court has recognized the potential for environmental harm coming from transgenetic contamination, and that organic farmers should have the right to go to court over gene flow from genetically modified crops to their own crops.

Overall, I’m not happy about GM alfalfa getting closer to being planted, especially when the modification is so that it can withstand more herbicide. The alfalfa in question is one of Monsanto’s “Roundup Ready” varieties. More poison being sprayed on crops because they can handle it better isn’t exactly what I’d call a good situation.

Some countries have already banned GM foods and seeds, and I can see their point. We don’t know enough about the effects of genetically modifying our foods, the foods given to animals that people eat, or the effects of modified genes getting out into the wild. This is dangerous stuff we’re playing with.

My one hope at this point for our country is that farmers who are impacted by genes drifting onto their crops take advantage of this ruling and sue whenever there’s a problem resulting from someone else’s use of GM seeds. There are consequences we already know about and that farmers have experienced – let’s see some of that come out in court.