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Farmers Sue Syngenta Over Corn Trait

U.S. corn farmers are suing Syngenta, alleging significant economic losses stemming from Syngenta’s MIR162 corn also known as Agrisure Viptera.

On October 3, farmers from Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska filed suits claiming they suffered huge losses due to MIR 162 corn seed entering the market before being approved by China. Syngenta says MIR 162 has prevented significant yield and grain quality losses resulting from damage by a broad spectrum of lepidopteran pests.

“American corn crops have effectively been contaminated as far as the enormous Chinese market is concerned,” said Adam Levitt, director at the law firm Grant & Eisenhofer, which is co-counseling the farmers. “Presence of Syngenta’s Agrisure Viptera in our corn supply has resulted in a steep drop for price of U.S. corn, causing farmers across the heartland tremendous economic damage. We estimate as much as 1 million acres have been infiltrated by MIR 162, revealing the magnitude of the injury to farmers in the Corn Belt.”

U.S. corn has been excluded from China and domestic corn prices have been detrimentally impacted because Syngenta continues marketing MIR 162 corn in the U.S., despite the lack of import approval from China, the class action lawsuits allege.

James Pizzirusso, a partner with Hausfeld LLP, the law firm that previously served as lead counsel representing corn farmers in a national class action against the manufacturer of genetically-modified StarLink corn also representing the farmers in this case, said, "Syngenta must be held accountable for its blatant misrepresentations to U.S. corn farmers. By promoting and marketing a genetically-modified corn seed before the seed had received import approval from China, Syngenta placed its own profit margins over corn farmers' livelihoods. Syngenta's decision has been economically devastating to U.S. corn farmers, causing losses of over $1 billion."

Other lawsuits

Syngenta had a lawsuit filed against them in September by Cargill. Cargill is seeking damages to more than $90 million. Read more here on the Cargill lawsuit.

Trans Coastal Supply Co., an exporter of livestock feed products based in Decatur, Illinois, was the second company to sue Syngenta. According to reports, the company expects to lose more than $41 million because of Syngenta releasing the trait before receiving import approval from China.

Since November of 2013, China has rejected imports of U.S. corn due to the presence of the MIR 162 trait. China has not indicated whether it will approve Syngenta’s MIR162 corn and resume imports.

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