(21 January 2010) In the USA, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) intends to permit the cultivation of genetically modified (GM) alfalfa once more. This recommendation is based on a newly-completed environmental impact assessment. Year-long legal conflicts were antecedent.
From GMO Compass, a good resource site
The cultivation approval of herbicide-tolerant GM alfalfa issued in 2005 was revoked in 2007 after a Californian court ordered the thorough environmental impact assessment. Diverse environmental groups and consumer associations had filed suit against the approval. The plaintiffs accused the administration of insufficient investigation with regard to possible environmental damage, such as may occur through outcrossing with conventional plants or wild relatives as well as through the spread of resistant weeds.
The GM alfalfa was developed by the agro-biotechnology firm Monsanto and displays tolerance to herbicide containing the active ingredient glyphosate (RoundupReady).
By court ordinance, the cultivation of GM alfalfa was subject to strict constraints: for example, fields intended for planting required approval from the agricultural authority. Special obligations applied to the transport, storage and labeling of the harvest. Monsanto filed high-level suits against these constraints and negotiations are expected this year.