Syngenta Genetically Modified Corn Approved For Use in China

As a growing number of genetically modified corn seed lawsuits continue to move forward against Syngenta Corp., China has now approved the import of U.S. corn with the specific trait at issue in the cases.

Corn farmers and others in the corn industry have been pursuing damages against Syngenta as a result of the inability to export corn with a specific genetically modified trait into China, which is the third largest importer of U.S. corn.

The lawsuits allege that the manufacturer distributed and marketed Agisure Viptera and Agisure Duracade corn seed without first ensuring that corn with the genetically-modified organism (GMO) known as MIR162 would be allowed in China.

As a result of the co-mingling of corn from many different farmers and cross-pollination caused by Syngenta’s recommendation that Agisure Viptera and Duracade seed be grown next to other corn, much of the U.S. corn supply has been impacted with this trait, causing farmers and others in the industry to suffer substantial damages over the past year due to dramatic drops in corn prices.

On December 22, Syngenta issued a press release announcing that China has finally granted the safety certificate for MIR162, which should stop the financial damages from continuing to mount.

Syngenta first ask China for approval back in 2010, then began selling the corn, according to the lawsuits, to farmers and other agribusiness companies, claiming approval was imminent. Instead, China blocked all imports of GMOs with the MIR162 trait. In addition, the dust from the corn reportedly got on other non-genetically modified corn during the shipping process, so that even farmers who did not use Syngenta’s corn saw their shipments banned.

Plaintiffs continue to claim that Syngenta’s negligent and reckless marketing of the GMO corn seed caused farmers and others in the farm industry to suffer damages between $1 billion and $2.9 billion.

On December 11, all Syngenta GM corn lawsuits were centralized before U.S. District Judge John W. Lungstrum for pretrial proceedings in the District of Kansas. All of the complaints raise similar allegations that Syngenta mislead farmers about their Agrisure Viptera and Agrisure Duracade corn seed.

Following the coordinated pretrial proceedings, if Syngenta corn seed settlements are not reached to resolve the litigation, individual cases may be remanded back to the U.S. District Courts where they were originally filed for separate trials across the country.

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