The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is delaying the testing of genetically engineered seeds after discovering that some were contaminated with the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis.
The move comes after a federal appeals court found that the FDA had not done enough to address concerns that the bacteria, which is known to cause illness and is present in many common foodstuffs, may be able to evade detection by the human immune system.
In its decision on Tuesday, the U.C.L.A. Court of Appeals said the FDA should delay testing until the company can prove that the seeds do not contain the bacteria.
In a statement, the FDA said the agency has not found any evidence that Bacillus anthracis has been detected in any of the crops tested.
It said testing of the seed samples is “a very important step in the investigation into possible contamination of the seeds.”
The decision was made following a request by a group of farmers who filed a class action lawsuit in May against Monsanto.
Monsanto said it was reviewing the court’s decision and the matter could be appealed to the U