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Appeals court upholds USDA decision to commercialize biotech alfalfa

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has refused to overturn the USDA's decision to commercialize genetically engineered alfalfa.

The federal appeals court has upheld a previous decision, which found that USDA lacked the authority to regulate the biotech crop once it was determined not to be a plant pest risk.

Roundup Ready alfalfa was developed by Monsanto to withstand glyphosate herbicides and was fully deregulated in 2011 after the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service completed a court-ordered environmental impact statement.

The Center for Food Safety and other biotech critics worry the crop will cross-pollinate with organic and conventional alfalfa, harming the markets of those farmers. It's also concerned about the development of glyphosate-resistant weeds.


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