U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey White in August banned the planting and sales of Monsanto's "Roundup Ready" biotech sugar beets after determining that their approval in 2005 by the USDA was illegal. He said the government must conduct a thorough environmental review before approving the crop to comply with the law.
Earthjustice, a consumer group that brought the case against the USDA and had asked the judge to order the young plants be destroyed, said the action was the first court-ordered destruction of a GMO crop.
"We had to run into court and ask the judge to stop them," said Earthjustice attorney Paul Achitoff. "He said you've got to tear up the plants, which was what we asked him to do. It's an extreme sort of a thing ... but the circumstances were such that there really wasn't any alternative. They basically had dared the court to stop them."