January 29, 2015 — About 1,300 farmers have filed lawsuits for economic losses caused by genetically modified (GMO) corn seed, including about 163 in Texas.
The San Antonio Business Journal reports that one of the most recent lawsuits was filed by Nancy Sugarek, a woman whose family owns farmland near Beeville, Texas.
According to Sugarek’s attorney, Syngenta AG recklessly released GMO corn before it was approved in China sent prices plummeting from $7 a bushel back in 2012 to about $3.25 a bushel in October 2014.
Lawsuits claim that Syngenta asked China to approve imports of their GMO corn seed, Argisure Viptera, back in 2010 — the same year Viptera was approved in the United States. Only a small percentage of American fields were planted with the seed, but much of the nation’s crop was tainted because corn is stored and transported on shared equipment.
Farmers claim Syngenta misled them about the imminent approval of Viptera in China. That approval did not come until December 2014. In the meantime, American farmers lost their third-largest customer and suffered an estimated $1 billion in economic losses.
Last month, lawsuits involving Syngenta’s GMO corn were centralized in a federal Multi-District Litigation (MDL) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas. As of January 15, over 200 lawsuits are overseen by Judge John W. Lungstrum for coordinated pretrial proceedings.
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