Here in South Dakota, one regularly hears the term Roundup Ready applied to a variety of crops (though for us it is largely corn and soybeans). The Supreme Court is currently looking at a case with reference to alfalfa:
A Supreme Court case targeting Roundup Ready alfalfa could write new ground rules for legal battles involving other genetically modified crops, including Montana and Wyoming sugar beets.
At issue is whether a lower court erred when it sided with environmentalists alleging imminent danger if Monsanto Co. sold alfalfa seed genetically engineered to resist the popular weed killer Roundup.
Monsanto is arguing that its opponents should have been required to produce evidence that danger was indeed imminent.
It would seem that such a request is reasonable, but then, this debate began in earnest back in the early 90s with reference to “Frankenfoods” (an umbrella term applied to any foodstuff which was assembled from genetically-modified plants).
The damage which could be done if there is a proscription against Roundup Ready products is large. If, indeed, there is a danger from these products, then it should be substantiated so we know for certain that the production hit is necessary.
In some ways this issue reminds me of the uproar over DDT almost 40 50 years ago. The concern was that that DDT (used to wipe out mosquito populations and stop the spread of malaria) was seriously harmful to the environment. Public policy was made based on this (as we now know) inaccurate premise.
I’m by no means claiming that the science with regard to DDT (or Roundup Ready crops) is settled. We’ve seen just where statements of that sort lead. I am saying that if one claims danger, one should be able to back up that claim and show that the danger more than offsets the benefit.