After nearly a two-hour hearing yesterday, the U.S. District Judge Jeffery White reserved judgment as to whether a preliminary injunction that would prevent the production or planting of genetically modified sugar beet seeds, should issue. Both parties, however, expect a quick decision as farmers will soon be ready to plant their crop.
In its filings, USDA argues that such an “overbroad” injunction would unnecessarily penalize producers and processors, “decimating the entire sugar beet industry and almost half of the nation’s domestic sugar supply for multiple years.”
Even if that were the case, and that is highly questionable as parties in litigation, especially when facing the ominous prospect of an injunction, paint an Armageddon vision of the world, the stakes for organic farmers and those wanting to plant non-GMO sugar beets are much higher. With the prevalence of GM sugar beets in the United States, in fact, a near 95% dominance of the sugar beet crop, organic or non-gmo sugar beets growers stand to be obliterated by genetic contamination from the GM crop (which can occur during many stages of seed planting and growth).
Hopefully the Court will consider this dire prospect for organic growers and those wishing to grow non-gmo beets, as well as consumers who care about the integrity of their food and stand to lose the ability to shop organic, as sufficient enough irreparable harm (one of the more important preliminary injunction elements) and grant the relief plaintiffs are seeking.