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Syngenta GMO Corn Litigation

A recent study by a leading grain-related industry group indicates that the delayed approval of imported corn from the United States to China has resulted in over $2 Billion dollars in financial losses to U.S. corn farmers, distributors and exporters.

The Issue

In 2010, Syngenta, a Swiss company, developed and marketed a genetic variant of corn seed as Agrisure Viptera® or Agrisure Duracade™. The GMO seed was developed to resist pests and disease. Otherwise known as MIR 162, the corn seed variant was not approved for human or animal consumption into many foreign markets for animal or human consumption, including China, which is one of the largest importers of corn, when it was pushed onto the market. In approximately November 2013, China discovered MIR 162 in shipments and began rejecting US corn; eventually, China banned the import of all US corn. This ban resulted in falling prices in the corn market.

The Chinese government eventually approved the import of the strain, but the refusal to accept the corn shipments including a trace of MIR 162 and the delay in the approval had a devastating impact on the US corn market.

According to the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA), a grain-related industry group, preliminary damage estimates “up to $2.9 billion in economic losses have been sustained by the U.S. corn, distillers grains and soy sectors in the aftermath of the enforcement of a zero-tolerance policy on Syngenta’s Agrisure Viptera™ MIR 162 corn technology in U.S. export shipments to China, where the trait has not been approved yet for import as food or feed.” The same report indicates that due to the release of the next generation of the seed, losses for up-coming season may exceed these estimates.

Since November 2013, the price of corn has dropped more than 2.5 times from its current approximate price ($7.50/ bushel v. $3.00/ bushel). While market prices rise and fall for a variety of reasons, the acts and omissions of Syngenta may have negatively impacted the market.

Generally, the lawsuits that have been filed allege that corn farmers and exporters were mislead that the seed had been approved or would be approved and the subsequent refusal to accept the corn has damaged corn famers and the entire industry. Additionally, the cross-pollination of seeds has impacted non-GMO growers as well by reducing prices due to the cross-pollination.

Alleging similar allegations, several large exporters, including ADM, Trans Coastal and Cargill, have filed lawsuits against Syngenta. Individual farmers have filed lawsuits in Missouri, Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, Arkansas, Iowa and Indiana.

The federal lawsuits have been consolidated into a MDL (multi-district litigation) in the United States District Court of Kansas, Kansas City. (MDL 2591).

Who is Affected?
  • Any corn farmer;
  • Any grain elevator operator;
  • Any corn exporter; and
  • Any corn distributor.
Did I Have to Plant Syngenta Seed to Make a Claim?

No. In fact, the initial claims have been made by farmers who did not use this seed. Importantly, the depressed prices of the corn market due to the delayed approval and/or other acts of Syngenta affected all corn farmers in Missouri and Illinois. As a result, all corn farmers may be entitled to financial compensation for their losses.

How Do I Make a Claim?

Lawsuits have been filed against Syngenta alleging that it caused damages to US corn farmers. As with any litigation, there are time limitations that will bar your claim upon their expiration. Each state has its own statute of limitation, so it is important to promptly investigate these claims.

If you are interested in a free discussion of your legal rights and how to make a claim, please complete our contact form or call us at 314-621-1701.

Resources

NGFA Estimates Up to $2.9 Billion Loss to U.S. Corn, Soy in Aftermath of Trade Disruption with China Over Detection of Unapproved Syngenta Agrisure Viptera™ MIR 162 Corn

Source: http://www.ngfa.org/2014/04/21/ngfa-estimates-up-to-2-9-billion-loss-to-u-s-corn-soy-in-aftermath-of-trade-disruption-with-china-over-detection-of-unapproved-syngenta-agrisure-viptera-mir-162-corn-2/

Joint Statement by National Grain and Feed Association and North American Export Grain Association

Source: http://www.ngfa.org/wp-content/uploads/nletter/2014/Jan_24_2014_newsletter.pdf

NGFA, NAEGA Issue Joint Statement Urging Syngenta to Suspend Commercialization of Agrisure Viptera and Duracade Biotech Corn

Source: http://www.ngfa.org/2014/01/24/ngfa-naega-issue-joint-statement-urging-syngenta-to-suspend-commercialization-of-agrisure-viptera-and-duracade-biotech-corn/