Beasley Allen is pursuing claims on behalf of those allegedly harmed by Syngenta Corporation’s market conduct resulting in depressed market prices for farmers in the corn export market. The issue is that China and other countries are turning away American-grown genetically modified corn. Because much of American corn farming revenue is generated through exports, the ban has caused a significant negative price impact on corn prices, hurting U.S. farmers.
Syngenta develops and sells corn seed that includes certain genetically engineered traits. The problem stems from a particular genetically modified trait found in Syngenta-developed corn. Two of its developments, Viptera corn and Duracade corn, contain a genetically modified trait known as MIR162. Though this trait is approved for sale in the United States, China – one of the key importers of United States corn – has not approved the trait and refuses to accept imports of modified corn.
The U.S. corn marketing system is commodity-based. That means that the corn grown by farmers 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. In order to maintain the stability of the corn marketing and distribution system, it is vital that the U.S. corn supply and exports maintain the highest standards of purity and integrity.
In November of 2013, Chinese regulatory officials found traces of MIR162 in corn shipments from the United States. As a result, China has rejected shipments of United States corn, causing farmers and grain handlers across the country to suffer significant economic losses.
The class action lawsuits filed by Beasley Allen covering more than a dozen states allege Syngenta released MIR162 into the marketplace knowing it lacked approval in China and knowing that commingling of corn is essentially inevitable. Release of the trait led to the contamination of the United States corn supply and is continuing to foreclose the United States export market to China.
The North American Export Grain Association and the National Grain and Feed Association have urged Syngenta to stop selling its genetically modified corn. A joint statement released by the two organizations reads in part, “NAEGA and NGFA are gravely concerned about the serious economic harm to exporters, grain handlers and, ultimately, agricultural procedures – as well as the United States’ reputation to meet its customers’ needs – that has resulted from Syngenta’s current approach to stewardship of Viptera. Further, the same concerns now transcend to Syngenta’s intended product launch plans for Duracade, which risk repeating and extending the damage. Immediate action is required by Syngenta to halt such damage.”
If you or your business have been injured as a result of the crippled corn export market, contact Beasley Allen attorneys Dee Miles at Dee.Miles@BeasleyAllen.com; Roman Shaul at Roman.Shaul@BeasleyAllen.com, or Leslie Pescia at Leslie.Pescia@BeasleyAllen.com.