Genetically Modified (GM) Sugar Beets Now Growing In The US

white sugar When is simple sugar no longer simple sugar?

When it is genetically modified.

Last spring, for the first time ever, genetically modified (GM) sugar beets were planted commercially in the United States. Monsanto’s Roundup Ready sugar beet is now growing in the fields of the good old USA!

As if the prevalence of refined sugar in the American diet is not bad enough, much of it now is genetically engineered for resistance to Monsanto’s herbicide glyphosate (marketed as Roundup).

This is a significant infiltration into our food supply, since half of the granulated sugar in the U.S. comes from sugar beets.

sugar beet field It won’t take long before farmers across the country follow the trend and start planting them instead of traditional sugar beets.

John Schorr, agriculture manager for Amalgamated Sugar, estimates that 95 percent of the sugar beet crop in Idaho will be of the new GM variety in 2008. That’s a total of 150,000 out of 167,000 acres. And that’s not counting all the other states that produce sugar beets.

But look at the bright side – if you thought it was a good idea to stop consuming so much sugar, maybe this will be just the impetus you need to take action.

The consumer group, Citizens for Health, is asking companies to refuse to use the GM sugar. So far three candy companies: American Crystal Sugar, Hershey’s and M&M Mars, all promised that they would not use GM sugar; Citizens for Health is asking consumers to email those companies from the group’s Web site and urge them to keep that promise.

“Unlike traditional breeding, genetic engineering creates new life forms that would never occur in nature, creating new and unpredictable health and environmental risks. Genes from bacteria, viruses, plants, animals – even humans – have already been inserted into common food crops, like corn, soy, and canola, to create “Frankencrops”. Now companies like Monsanto have set their sights on our sugar.”

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