What is the Case about?
Syngenta sells two genetically modified corn varieties, Viptera and Duracade, which are approved in the United States, but have not been approved in all export markets, including China. In 2013 China, an important export market for U.S. corn, tested some U.S. corn shipments and discovered the shipments included the genetically-modified (MIR 162 GMO) trait found in Viptera and Duracade. China immediately began rejecting U.S. corn shipments, which continues to this day.
I grew Syngenta’s Viptera or Duracade. Do I have a Claim against Syngenta?
You might have a claim against Syngenta. However, this lawsuit only involves farmers who did not purchase or plant Syngenta’s Viptera or Duracade. If you grew Viptera or Duracade and would like to investigate whether you have a claim, you are welcome to discuss it with us.
If I did not grow Viptera or Duracade, why do I have a Claim against Syngenta?
The loss of China, a significant U.S. corn export market, has decreased demand for U.S. corn around the world. This decreased demand caused a downturn in the market price for all U.S. corn, regardless of its variety. This action seeks to compensate U.S. farmers for market losses suffered because Syngenta tainted part of the U.S. corn supply that was exported. Syngenta’s failure to monitor its products has cost U.S. farmers at least $1.14 billion.
Is there any additional information I should know?
- Corn production is of crucial economic importance to the United States. The U.S. is ranked first in the world in total corn production and exports a significant amount of its production.
- The U.S. corn marketing system is commodity-based. That means that the corn grown by farmers, such as Plaintiff, is harvested, gathered, commingled, consolidated, and otherwise shipped from thousands of farms to local, regional, and terminal distribution centers. From there, it is often transported by exporters to foreign countries.
- Syngenta is a Swiss-based agribusiness that manufactures GMO (genetically modified) corn seed. In 2009, Syngenta released a genetically engineered corn trait, MIR162, into the U.S. market. Its first generation of MIR162 corn was known as Agrisure Viptera (“Viptera”). The second generation of Syngenta’s MIR162 corn, Agrisure Duracade (“Duracade”), was released, sold, and distributed for planting in 2014.
- MIR162 was developed to be resistant to root worms and other pests that affect the quality and quantity of corn. Corn products containing the MIR162 trait were not approved for export into China until December 22, 2014.
- Viptera and Duracade contaminated the U.S. corn supply by being commingled with non-GMO corn, which caused every corn farmer’s crop to lose value. For a country with a zero-tolerance policy, contamination can close that export market and damage future relations, as it has done with China.
- Syngenta actively marketed MIR162 corn in the absence of Chinese approval. The company falsely claimed, dating back to 2012, China would imminently approve its corn, and the company downplayed the significance of China as an export market.
- Viptera and Duracade financially harmed U.S. corn farmers. Before China set a ban on U.S. corn, the U.S. exported approximately 5,000,000 tons of corn to China in 2012-13. Because of Syngenta’s MIR162 contamination, the export number dropped to zero. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) trade projections had placed China as the world’s largest importer of corn by 2020.
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