President Obama approved a temporary spending bill this week that averted a government shutdown but also riled a slew of groups that say one provision protects Monsanto and other makers of genetically modified seeds and crops from federal courts.

The so-called Monsanto Protection Act essentially requires the Agriculture Department to approve the growing, harvesting and selling of such crops, even if the courts rule environmental studies are incomplete — undermining the judicial review system and posing potential health risks, critics say.