Genetically modified (GMO) corn sold by Swiss seed-maker Syngenta and banned by the Chinese government has given rise to lawsuits filed on behalf of hundreds of U.S. farmers, as well as global grain handlers. Lawsuits allege that Syngenta misrepresented the status of Chinese approval of the strains of corn at issue in the cases, and that farmers and grain handlers suffered hundreds of millions of dollars in damage as a result of both lost sales and a sharp drop in the price of corn.
If you are a farmer who suffered a loss as a result of banned GMO corn, contact Attorney Group for Illinois for more information. We offer free, no obligation consultations. We can help answer your questions, and if you decide to pursue claim we can connect you with an affiliated GMO corn lawsuit attorney who can assist you throughout the legal process.
What is Syngenta GMO Corn?
In 2009, Syngenta introduced GMO corn with a MIR162 trait into the national market place. The modification was intended to protect the corn plant from insect damage. This first generation of GMO corn seeds was dubbed Agrisure Viptera. The second generation, Agrisure Duracade, found its way onto the market in time for the 2014 planting season.
Over five years, Syngenta reportedly invested around $200 million in Viptera’s product development. Despite needing regulatory approval from key import countries like Japan, the European Union and China, Syngenta allegedly released Viptera into the market for the 2011 growing season. In late 2013, China detected MIR162 in imported U.S. corn and stopped importing the product.
How Did China’s Syngenta GMO Corn Ban Affect the Market?
The United States is the world’s leading corn exporter with about a fifth of domestic corn being transported to other countries. Behind Japan and Mexico, China was the third-largest importer for U.S. corn in 2012. As a result of the ban, the U.S. corn market is estimated to have lost over $420 million from just barred shipments. Some estimates say the total market lost as much as $1 billion. China’s ban on Syngenta GMO corn is believed by some to have crippled the once growing China export market.
Background on Syngenta GMO Corn Lawsuits
Lawsuits against Syngenta are the result of the unapproved GMO corn being exported to China. Shipments tested positive for the MIR162. In 2010, Syngenta had already applied for the GMO’s approval with the Chinese government, but the company was not cleared to take the modified corn into China’s market. Once the trait was detected in the 2010 corn exports, China barred the affected corn shipments, allegedly causing a significant affect on the global and United States corn market.
GMO Corn Lawsuit Claims Against Syngenta
Syngenta GMO corn lawsuits make a number of allegations against the company. According to lawsuits, Syngenta:
- Conspired to contaminate the United States corn crop: The enterprise allegedly saturated the national corn market with GMO corn in order to force other nations into accepting the product.
- Harmed the national corn market due to greed and recklessness: The company’s decision to bring unapproved corn into market crippled the crop’s 2013-2014 export season.
- Purposefully misrepresenting the GMO’s effects on health: Syngenta supposedly told farmers, grain exporters, grain elevators and the general public that Chinese regulatory approval was imminent.
- Misinformed individuals about the importance of export markets: The corporation reportedly tried to convince farmers that the export market hardly affected crop prices and was not significant to the U.S. market.
- Misrepresented the company’s regulatory states with China and possible shipment rejections: In 2012’s first quarter, Syngenta CEO Michael Mack allegedly stated China would approve the GMO in a few days. In 2014, Mr. Mack stated he did not know when the GMO would be approved.
- Misled farmers about the contamination risks of side-by-side planting: Allegedly, the company knew the dangers of this practice but encouraged farmers to pursue side-by-side planting anyway.
Affected farmers are seeking counsel from Syngenta GMO corn attorneys in Illinois and other states to assist them in determining their rights and remedies.
Illinois Syngenta GMO Corn Lawsuit Status
Class action lawsuits have been filed in a number of corn-producing states, including Illinois, on behalf of local farmers and exporters. Farmers who choose to opt out of class action claims are bringing individual lawsuits against Syngenta. In October 2014, suits were already filed in Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, and Arkansas. In December 2014, the federally filed Syngenta GMO corn suits were combined into a multidistrict litigation in the Kansas District Court. This MDL includes the Illinois Syngenta GMO corn lawsuit.
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