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US Supreme Court Overturns Alfalfa Ban


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- St. Louis Business Journal, June 21, 2010
 
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday sided with Monsanto and overturned a three-year-old ban on the company’s genetically modified alfalfa seed.

Roundup Ready alfalfa was reviewed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and approved by U.S. Department of Agriculture before entering the market in 2005. The seeds are genetically engineered to resist Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer.

A 2007 court order in California blocked Monsanto from selling and farmers from planting the alfalfa seeds until the federal government completed an environmental study on the seeds’ impact on other alfalfa crops.

In a 7-1 vote, the Supreme Court reversed a ruling by a federal appeals court that kept Monsanto’s alfalfa seeds from being sold or planted. Associate Justice John Stevens filed a dissenting opinion, and Associate Justice Stephen Breyer took no part in the case.

This is the first time the Supreme Court has considered genetically modified crops and the process for approving them. The case could have broader implications, including on Monsanto's modified sugar beets, which have also faced opposition from environmentalists.

The case decided Monday is Monsanto Co. v. Geertson Seed Farms. Go here to read the court’s decision.

Creve Coeur, Mo.-based Monsanto (NYSE: MON), led by Chairman, President and Chief Executive Hugh Grant, reported sales of $11.7 billion in 2009.

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Complete text of the court ruling at
 
http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/09pdf/09-475.pdf
 
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