Enviros Sue USDA Over Biopharmaceuticals

A coalition of green groups and consumer advocates took the U.S. Department of Agriculture to court yesterday in an effort to halt experimental planting of “biopharmaceutical crops,” plants genetically engineered to produce medicine. The coalition, which includes Friends of the Earth and the Center for Food Safety, wants the USDA to adopt stricter controls on such crops to ensure that they do not accidentally contaminate the food supply. Currently, the coalition says, Dow Chemical, Monsanto, and other biotech companies plant experimental crops in open fields without adequate assessment of the potential risk to humans, wildlife, and other crops. The biotechnology industry claims the system is already safe and says the suit “can only serve to impede the potential medical benefits of the technology.”