China has a “zero tolerance policy” when it comes to unapproved biotech-enhanced traits in grain. In November 2013, China rejected the first shipment of grain from the United States due to contamination with Agrisure Viptera, a genetically modified seed that had not been approved by Beijing. The Viptera seed, engineered by the Swiss-based company Syngenta, was not approved by China until December 2014.
With unceasing rejections from China, U.S. corn shipments were down 85% in the first seven months of 2014 according to The Wall Street Journal. In an April 2014 report, the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) estimated that rejected shipments had directly cost grain companies $427 million. They went on to report that the total loss to U.S. Agriculture, including the impact on prices and other factors, could exceed $2 billion.
Major Companies Have Already Started Seeking Damages
The premature sale of Agrisure Viptera could be costly to companies other than its manufacturer, Syngenta. Cargill, Trans Coastal Supply Company, and Archer Daniels Midland Company are among numerous parties filing corn lawsuits prompted by the rejection of tainted corn.
In late November 2013, Cargill was forced to reroute at least five ships containing tens of thousands of tons of corn. The corn, which had been rejected by China, was sent to Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Egypt. The multinational corporation has reported more than a $90 million loss due to China’s rejection of its crop and Cargill’s subsequent push to sell the bioengineered corn.
Trans Coastal Supply Company was the second company to sue Syngenta over the sale of the genetically modified corn seed. This major exporter of livestock feed products said their losses were related to exports of an ethanol byproduct called distillers dried grains (DDGs). China is the world’s largest buyer of DDGs and the rejection is said to have set Trans Costal Supply Company back roughly $41 million.
Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM), the world’s largest corn processor, is also getting involved in the corn lawsuit. A spokeswoman for ADM did not provide an exact dollar amount, but stated there were “tens of millions of dollars in losses and added costs.”
Corn Farmers Get Involved
The lawsuit for sales of genetically modified corn has expanded to U.S. farmers. Thus far, there have been farmers in 11 states that have filed corn lawsuits against Syngenta in federal court seeking damages for an alleged hit to corn prices. Experts have estimated damage compensation to be between $0.11 and a $1 a bushel for corn grown in 2013 and/or 2014. It does not matter if the farmer had planted the Viptera seed, as the corn lawsuit is focused on overall damages to corn prices.
How Do I Get Involved?
If you or someone you know was negatively impacted by Syngenta’s seed, contact an attorney at Hensley Legal Group for a free consultation. If you have questions about a Syngenta Corn Lawsuit our attorneys can help you understand your options. Call our office any time at 1-888-505-8232 or reach us via the web. Fill out the ‘Get Help Now’ form and someone from our office will contact you as soon as possible to discuss your claim.