SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A judge says federal regulators wrongly approved genetically engineered sugar beets for widespread commercialization two years ago.
The federal judge ordered regulators Monday to conduct detailed scientific studies to determine the crop's effects on the environment, which likely will preclude farmers from planting them next year.
Most sugar beets in the country are grown in Oregon's Willamette Valley.
Last year, environmental groups sued the U.S. Department of Agriculture over its 2007 approval.
U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey White says in his ruling the approval was based on a cursory scientific examination. He's ordered inspectors to determine whether the biotech beets created by St. Louis-based Monsanto Co. could harm organic sugar beets through "cross pollination."