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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