August 10, 2015 — Trans Coastal Supply Co., an Illinois grain-shipping company, has filed for bankruptcy and blames their losses on China’s rejection of GMO-tainted American corn.
Syngenta began marketing their genetically-modified (GMO) corn seed Agrisure Viptera in 2010. It quickly contaminated much of the corn supply in the United States due to cross-pollination on adjacent fields and cross-contamination during storage and shipment.
The Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing illustrates the sweeping effect Syngenta’s Viptera corn had on the entire industry.
Wall Street Journal reports that the president of Trans Costal said the company “had been led to believe” the Syngenta strain would soon be approved in China. When it wasn’t, the company spiraled toward bankruptcy for a number of reasons:
“…abandoned cargos, rejected documents, rejected cargos, devaluation of markets, and defaulted sales contracts by customers uncertain of their ability to accept delivery, which, combined with our losses resulting from the opposite purchase contracts have debilitated our company.”
In 2013, China banned all imports of GMO-tainted corn and the price of corn plummeted. Farmers lost an estimated $1-3 billion and 1.2 million tons of corn were rejected. China did not approve the strain until December 2014.
Syngenta is now facing hundreds of lawsuits from farmers and farm businesses in 20 states. Federal judges have centralized some of the lawsuits in Kansas. The litigation is remarkably similar to one involving rice tainted by a GMO seed made by Bayer, which ended in a $750 million settlement in 2011.
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