Billion-Dollar Lawsuits Claim Syngenta’s GM Corn Ruined Sales to China
Three class-action lawsuits filed Friday claim that agribusiness power Syngenta is to blame for depressed corn exports to China since the seed company released a genetically-engineered variant of the crop before it was approved by Beijing.
At issue is Syngenta’s 2009 release and distribution of its MIR162 genetically-modified corn known as Agrisure Viptera, which is engineered to fend off certain insects known to decimate corn crops. While approved for use in the United States, Chinese regulators have yet to sanction the export of Viptera.
Syngenta is responsible for “destroy[ing] the export of US corn to China,” which led to “depressed prices for all domestic corn,” according to Volnek Farms, the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit filed in an Omaha, Nebraska federal court. Volnek and others are claiming $1 billion in compensation.
The two other suits were filed in Iowa and Illinois federal courts, according to Courthouse News. In addition to monetary claims, the Nebraska and Iowa suits seek to enjoin Syngenta from cultivating and marketing MIR162, or Viptera.
In addition to alleging the destruction of the US corn export market to China, Iowa plaintiffs Cronin Inc. and Jim Ruba Jr., who say they do not even plant genetically-modified corn, claim that Syngenta offered “materially misleading statements relating to the approval status of MIR162 in China and the impact the lack of approval would have on the market.”