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Federal judge to Monsanto: Yank the sugar beets out

A sugar beet.
(Flickr Creative Commons User Mindy.Kotaska)
A sugar beet.

Monsanto's latest lawsuit is no small potatoes - in fact, it's sugar beets.

A federal judge has ordered the destruction of more than 250 acres of genetically modified sugar beets. Monsanto said Wednesday that it will appeal the ruling.

The judge's decision is part of an ongoing lawsuit brought by environmental groups seeking to prevent farmers from planting Monsanto's Roundup Ready seed until the USDA completes an environmental impact statement.

U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White said the USDA should not have issued permits allowing farmers in Arizona and Oregon to plant the beets in September.

The same judge had ordered a halt to further plantings the month before.

About ninety-five percent of the sugar beet crop in the U.S. is grown from seeds engineered to resist Monsanto's Roundup herbicide.