Biotech Updates

US Supreme Court Favors Release of Roundup Ready Alfalfa

June 25, 2010

The three-year wait by alfalfa farmers in the USA for a decision from the US Supreme Court on the plight of the genetically modified alfalfa resistant to herbicide Roundup Ready, has just ended. On June 21, 2010, in a 7-1 ruling, the Court overturned a lower court's order that has prohibited farmers from planting the GM alfalfa in the last three years. Justice Samuel Alito wrote the opinion of the court stating that "the district court abused its discretion when it prohibited the planting of Roundup Ready alfalfa in 2007."

The ruling will be passed again to the lower court with the instruction to allow USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to conduct appropriate action to allow farmer to resume planting, while the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is being completed.

Initially, the GM crop has successfully completed food safety reviews by the Food and Drug Administration and was granted non-regulated status by the USDA in 2005. The Environmental Protection Agency has found that the GM crop is safe, was already planted by approximately 5,500 growers in more than 220,000 acres, and is the fourth-largest crop grown in the US.

The news release can be viewed at