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Alfalfa in court

(article, Culinate staff)

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal brought by agribusiness giant Monsanto about the company's Roundup Ready alfalfa. The alfalfa seed — genetically engineered by Monsanto to resist the company's Roundup Ready herbicide — was banned in a 2007 court case. (Read more about Roundup Ready at SourceWatch.) 

The Supreme Court ruling — expected this spring — could also affect a similar case involving Monsanto's genetically modified sugar beets. Alfalfa is grown for livestock feed, while sugar beets are grown to produce a cheaper form of table sugar than cane sugar.

As the Center for Food Safety noted, the case marks the first time the Supreme Court has taken an interest in GM foods. 

Most news stories have also noted that Justice Stephen Breyer has recused himself from the case because his brother, a California judge, issued the initial ruling against Monsanto. Few have remarked, however, on the fact that Justice Clarence Thomas has not recused himself from the case — something to mull over if you remember the documentary '"Food, pointing out Thomas' prior career as a Monsanto corporate lawyer. (Against the film, Monsanto has posted its own take on Thomas.)