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Sugar Beet

Sugar Beet HarvestSugar beet (Beta vulgaris L.), a member of the Chenopodiaceae family, is a plant whose root contains a high concentration of sucrose. It is grown commercially for sugar.

The sugar beet is directly related to the beetroot, chard and fodder beet, all descended by cultivation from the sea beet.

The European Union, the United States, and Russia are the world's three largest sugar beet producers, although only the European Union and Ukraine are significant exporters of sugar from beet. Beet sugar accounts for 30% of the world's sugar production.

In the United States, genetically modified sugar beets resistant to glyphosate, (marketed by Monsanto as Roundup) a herbicide, are slated to be planted for the first time in the spring of 2008. Sugar from the biotechnology-enhanced sugar beet has been approved for human and animal consumption in the European Union. This action by the EU executive body allows unrestricted imports of food and feed products made from (H7-1) glyphosate-tolerant (Roundup Ready) sugar beets.

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