Citing possible harm to
The court found that USDA violated the ESA and the National Environmental Policy Act, by failing to conduct preliminary investigations prior to its approval of the plantings.
The August 10 decision represents the first federal court ruling ever on "biopharming," the practice of genetically altering food crops to produce experimental drugs and industrial compounds.
The four USDA-issued permits primarily at issue in the case authorized Monsanto, ProdiGene, Garst Seed Company, and the
The plaintiffs in the case - Center for Food Safety, Friends of the Earth, Pesticide Action Network North America, and KAHEA (the Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance) - sued the USDA in November 2003.
Plaintiffs have also challenged USDA's practice of concealing the locations of trials from the public. In Judge J. Michael Seabright ordered the parties to appear in court on