The House of Representatives voted this week to allow farmers to grow genetically modified crops from Monsanto while any lawsuits are pending.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture would be required to permit modified crops to be planted and sold into the food supply after the agency’s approvals have been invalidated by a court, under a provision in the fiscal 2013 agriculture spending bill approved by the House Appropriations committee Tuesday, according to reports from Bloomberg News.
The provision is an attempt to prevent further slowing of the approval process of GM crops. The approval process for both GM sugarbeets and GM alfalfa have been slowed down by anti-GM groups suing Monsanto to prevent these crops from being planted.
“A stream of lawsuits have slowed approvals and created uncertainties for companies developing the modified plants,” James C. Greenwood, president of the Biotechnology Industry Organization, whose members include Monsanto and Dupont Co., said in a June 13 letter to Congress. “The regulatory certainty provided by this legislative language would address an immediate threat to the regulatory process.”
Nine U.S. agriculture groups supported the provision and agreed that it would be helpful to farmers because they could plant and harvest during legal challenges.
The Center for Food Safety, an opponent of GM alfalfa and GM sugarbeets, was disappointed in the announcement, and called the bill a way keep Monsanto’s profits assured.
The bill now goes to the full House for consideration.