In September 2008, a divided panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the injunction imposed by a district court on the sale of Monsanto’s Roundup Ready® alfalfa until the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) completes an environmental impact statement under the National Environmental Policy Act. Additional details about the court’s ruling appear in issue 274 of this Update. The appeals court has
now issued an amended opinion indicating that the petition for panel rehearing and for rehearing en banc have been denied. Geertson Seed Farms v. Johanns, No. 07-16458 (9th Cir., decided June 24, 2009).

Thus, unless the government or Monsanto Co. successfully appeals the matter to the U.S. Supreme Court, the company will be unable to sell its genetically modified seeds until the USDA prepares a study on how the crop could affect neighboring crops. A spokesperson for the Center for Food Safety, one of the plaintiffs in the case, was quoted as saying that the ruling was “a major victory for consumers, for farmers and for the public as far as protecting their rights to sow the crop of their choice and eat the food of their choice.” See Reuters, June 24, 2009.

About The Author

For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.

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