English 中文网 漫画网 爱新闻iNews 翻译论坛
当前位置: Language Tips > Special Speed News VOA慢速

US lets farmers plant biotech sugar beets, with conditions

[ 2011-02-16 13:26]     字号 [] [] []  
免费订阅30天China Daily双语新闻手机报:移动用户编辑短信CD至106580009009

US lets farmers plant biotech sugar beets, with conditions

This is the VOA Special English Agriculture Report.

The United States Department of Agriculture has given farmers permission to plant genetically engineered sugar beets with some conditions. A USDA agency ruled on the most popular variety of Roundup Ready sugar beets. The agency said the genetically engineered sugar beets do not harm the environment or increase threats by pests.

The Monsanto Company makes Roundup Ready crops. The genetic change in the sugar beets makes them resist the herbicide or weed killer known as Roundup.

The action lets growers plant the genetically changed sugar beets if they obey certain rules. The USDA agency expects to finish its full environmental study of the sugar beets by May of next year. Then it will decide if it will permit unlimited planting of the crops. Sugar beets provide about half of America's sugar supply.

The government agency had unconditionally approved the genetically engineered sugar beets in 2005. But after legal action, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California cancelled the agency's approval last year. The court said the Agriculture Department needed to perform a complete study of the environmental effects of the sugar beets.

James Greenwood leads the Biotechnology Industry Organization. The group represents more than 1,000 biotechnology companies and other organizations. Mr. Greenwood says the current decision is a reasonable step. He says it lets farmers make planting choices while the environmental statement is being completed.

But activist groups for the environment and food safety question the product's safety. They will take legal action in the same federal court that issued the ruling last year. Lawyer Paul Achitoff of the organization Earthjustice said:

PAUL ACHITOFF: "We do expect to be able to challenge that decision before the district court."

The Roundup Ready opponents say genetically engineered crops can cross-pollinate and damage other crops. And they say the crops can cause the growth of weeds that resist Roundup.

Last year, the United States Supreme Court considered its first case about genetically engineered crops. The court rejected a lower court's decision to ban sale of genetically engineered alfalfa seeds until the government completed a study of their effects on the environment.

And that's the VOA Special English Agriculture Report, written by Jerilyn Watson. I'm Karen Leggett.

cross-pollinate: 异花传粉;异花受粉

alfalfa: a plant with small divided leaves and purple flowers, grown as food for farm animals and as a salad vegetable 苜蓿

Related stories:

US considers first genetically modified animal for food

Transgenic crops get good marks in general in US study

Researchers seek drought-resistant crops

Biotech foods produce mixed feelings in US

(来源:VOA 编辑:崔旭燕)