Corn is big business for U.S. farmers. But Syngenta’s genetically modified corn cost many in the industry big bucks. Syngenta is a Swiss-based agribusiness that is accused of commercializing a GMO corn seed before it had the required approvals to be imported in China. That action resulted in a Chinese ban of all imports of U.S. corn that contained a specific trait. Following the ban, corn prices took a sharp downturn, and anyone who sells, grows, distributes, transports or trades U.S. corn saw a loss of profit as a result. If you experienced a profit loss following the ban on Syngenta corn contact McIntyre Law today for a free consultation.
“GMO” stands for genetically modified organism. That means that an organism has been modified from its original form by using genetic engineering. This can be done to food, crops or other products when a sophisticated scientific process inserts, deletes or modifies genes from a species in order to create a more useful version. GMOs are not always bad—they are used for medicine, insulin, biofuels and in the manufacture of processed foods. Sometimes, it helps make a crop more resistant to insects, which allows the grower to use fewer toxic pesticides. Sometimes, they even make food more nutritious by boosting its vitamin or mineral content.
However, GMO skeptics believe that when a food, specifically, is modified this way, it could cause people to have allergic reactions. As well, sometimes genetically modified food can contain antibiotic features. As bacteria become more resistant to antibiotics, these features can give rise to drug-resistant “superbugs” that could be untreatable.
Syngenta produces Agrisure Viptera and Agrisure Duracade, genetically modified corn seeds that contain MIR162, a trait that had not been approved in China. Unfortunately, when China discovered that it had been importing seeds with MIR162, it banned all U.S. corn shipments. Even if a farmer didn’t specifically intend to use GMO corn, its pollen can drift through wind gusts or be distributed by insects, which means that crops could be easily cross-contaminated by the GMO grain without the farmer’s knowledge. After China banned Viptera, it was found that the GMO product was detected in the majority of U.S. corn shipments, including those from farmers that didn’t intentionally use Viptera seeds.
The National Grain and Feed Association has said that the American corn industry has lost an estimated $1 billion to $2.9 billion in grain sales. So, how do we get back on track? Well, that might be difficult. Because China would not import U.S. corn, it began to look for alternatives and has begun purchasing sorghum and other grain feed alternatives. Therefore, even now that the ban on U.S. corn imports has been lifted, China no longer has a need for as much U.S. corn as it once did. Syngenta began to market Duracade in 2014. As yet, that corn is neither approved nor banned for sale in China, but it contains MR162, the same trait that caused Viptera to be banned.
In a series of class action lawsuits, farmers are suing Syngenta on a claim that the company’s premature release of Viptera caused them to suffer economic losses and sustain damage to their farmland. Further allegations include that Syngenta used misleading and irresponsible marketing practices. As well, farmers in various states in the U.S. allege that Syngenta misinformed them about China’s denial of Viptera, misled them about Viptera’s approval status in China, and that the contamination of corn by Viptera has irreparably harmed the U.S. corn market.
You could be eligible to recover damages in a Syngenta GMO corn lawsuit if you are a:
Our lawyers routinely handle cases throughout the country. No matter what state you live in, if you make your living in any way related to the farming or distribution of corn, our lawyers are ready to help.