Over 1,500 Corn Farmers Join Syngenta GMO Corn LawsuitsMarch 26, 2015 — Over 1,500 farmers have joined lawsuits against Syngenta AG, including individual plaintiffs who grew non-GMO corn and exporters like Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland, according to Law360.

At least 66 lawsuits are putative class actions, according to the High Plains Journal.

Most of the litigation has been centralized in one federal court in Kansas. As of March 15, there were 492 lawsuits pending in Multi-District Litigation (MDL No. 2591) under Judge John W. Lungstrum.

Sygnenta has fought to keep the litigation in federal court, arguing that federal jurisdiction is needed to review the legality and validity of China’s refusal to import GMO corn.

Syngenta’s genetically modified (GMO) corn seed, MIR162, was engineered to resist damage from insects like corn borers and rootworms. It was approved for use in the United States in 2010.

While only 3% of corn acres were planted with the seed, much of the nation’s supply was contaminated due to cross-pollination and cross-contamination on shared grain elevators and shipping containers.

When China refused to import GMO-tainted seed, corn exports plummeted by 85% and corn farmers lost at least $1 billion. The economic losses mostly fell on farmers who never even planted the seed. Many of them now accuse Syngenta of recklessly and aggressively marketing their product.

Lawyers argue that Syngenta knew or should have known that China’s rejection of the seed would impact corn prices. While Syngenta was marketing MIR162, a nearly identical scenario played out involving GMO rice. In 2011, Bayer paid $750 million to settle claims from 11,000 rice farmers who said the company’s GMO rice tainted their crops and ruined export values.

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