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Sugar Industry Trying Once Again to Introduce Round-Up Ready Sugar Beets

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After abandoning genetically modified sugar beets in the late 1990s, the US sugar beet industry is set to re-introduce GM Roundup Ready sugar beets.

Duane Grant, sugar beet biotech council grower spokesman from Idaho, told Capital Press Agriculture Weekly that sugar beet growers believe they need access to biotechnology in order to survive as an industry.

Sugar beet production has depended on hand weeding, and Grant said that's not only expensive but results in labor legality issues. He also claims that after processing, it is impossible to tell whether the sugar is from GMO or non-GMO beets.

However, the USA's largest sugar company, the American Crystal Sugar Company, has no plans to grow GM sugar beets. In a statement the company said, "Herbicide resistant varieties developed using biotechnology (GMO) will not be allowed to be sold, given away, distributed, or planted in year 2007."

Sugar beets are grown on 1.4 million acres in the US. (SOURCE: Capital Press Agriculture Weekly)

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