• By Lynda Kiernan-Stone, Global AgInvesting Media

Judge Rules that Corn Lawsuits Against Syngenta Can Proceed to Trial

A federal district judge in Kansas City, Kansas ruled that a class action lawsuit filed against Syngenta on behalf of U.S. corn farmers, traders, and exporters who claim that they suffered financial losses due to the company commercializing its Viptera and Duracade genetically modified corn strains prior to receiving regulatory approval from China may proceed to trial.

The plaintiffs claim that China’s refusal of any U.S. corn shipments containing Viptera’s MIR162 trait caused a trade interruption that affected corn prices leading to economic damage of between $1 billion and $3 billion to the industry.

Syngenta defends its actions stating that it released its Viptera corn in 2010 after receiving U.S. approval and approvals from other countries in 2010 and 2011 considered to be key export markets, however China was not consider a key export market, according to Duane Martin, commercial product lead at Syngenta.

"Syngenta believes the lawsuits are without merit, and we will continue to defend the rights of American farmers to have access to safe, effective, U.S.-approved technologies like Agrisure Viptera,” said Paul Minehart, Syngenta spokesman. ”We commercialized Viptera in full compliance with regulatory and legal requirements, and USDA statistics make clear that the commodity price of corn declined before China’s rejection of U.S. corn in November 2013."

The Viptera MIR162 trait was eventually approved for Import by China in December 2014.

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