The Agriculture Department’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service announced Friday it will partially deregulate biotech sugar beets. The decision means farmers can resume plantings of sugar beets that had been barred by a federal judge.
“After conducting an environmental assessment, accepting and reviewing public comments and conducting a plant pest risk assessment, APHIS has determined that the Roundup Ready sugar beet root crop, when grown under APHIS-imposed conditions, can be partially deregulated without posing a plant pest risk or having a significant effect on the environment,” said Michael Gregoire, deputy administrator for APHIS’ biotechnology regulatory services.
More than half of the nation’s granulated sugar has in recent years come from Roundup Ready beets. The other half comes from sugar cane.
Sugar beet growers welcomed the decision.
“The decision is a win for consumers,” said Duane Grant, a beet farmer in Rupert, Idaho, and chairman of the farmer-owned Snake River Sugar Company. “It assures a full beet crop will be planted in 2011.”