Syngenta GMO Corn
WHAT ARE AGRISURE VIPTERA® AND AGRISURE DURACADE™?
Syngenta engineered a corn trait known as MIR162, which makes plants resistant to such pests as corn borers, black cutworm and corn rootworm. According to court documents, Syngenta spent five to seven years and $200 million developing the trait. Syngenta began selling it commercially to U.S. growers in 2011 under the trade name of Agrisure Viptera®, after approval by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2010. Syngenta released another variety of GMO corn containing the MIR162 trait in 2014 under the trade name of Agrisure Duracade™.
SYNGENTA MISREPRESENTED THE CHINESE REGULATORY APPROVAL DATE OF VIPTERA®
Growers, grain elevators, grain exporters, and the general public were misinformed about the prospects for China’s approval of Viptera® corn because Syngenta Chief Executive Michael Mack said in an April 2012 earnings call that he expected Beijing to clear the trait “within a matter of a couple of days.” At the time Mr. Mack made his statement, Syngenta knew that Chinese approval of Viptera® was more than a “couple of days” away. In fact, Viptera® would not be approved for import until December 22, 2014, well over two and a half years after Mr. Mack’s statement to investors.
Rather than waiting for China to approve Viptera® corn, Syngenta encouraged growers to plant Viptera® corn to enhance its profit margins.
CHINA REJECTS SHIPMENTS OF CORN CONTAINING MIR162
In November 2013, China began enforcing a zero tolerance policy for the presence of MIR162 in corn imports. This development resulted in a series of trade disruptions – including testing; delays in vessel discharge; and deferrals, diversion and rejections of cargoes – when MIR162 was subsequently detected in U.S shipments of corn and DDGS. These disruptions effectively shut U.S. corn growers out of China’s important feed grain import market, which previously had almost exclusively had been supplied by the United States.
The vast majority of U.S. corn has been effectively excluded from what was at that time the third largest export market for U.S. corn. Between November 2013 and November 2014 it is estimated that China refused 1.45 million metric tons of Syngenta’s Viptera® corn.
In an April 2014 report, The National Grain and Feed Association estimated that China’s ban on Syngenta Viptera® has cost $2.9 billion in economic losses to the U.S. corn, distillers, grains and soy sectors. The organization also estimated that U.S. growers, grain handlers and exporters could suffer an economic impact of up to $3.4 billion during the fiscal year that started September 1, 2014.
Prior to implementing its ban on Viptera®, China was the third largest export market for U.S. corn. Since its inspectors started turning away shipments showing traces of Viptera® corn, purchases of U.S. corn fell by 85 percent, and helped to drive corn prices to a five-year low.
The National Grain and Feed Association estimates that the Chinese refusal of U.S. corn has reduced corn prices by 11 cents per bushel, and it has asked Syngenta to stop selling both Viptera® and Duracade™. Syngenta refused to pull its products off of the market.
U.S. corn futures had soared to $8 a bushel in the summer of 2013, but dropped almost 50 percent by the end of the year.
EVEN GROWERS WHO DID NOT USE MIR162 GMO CORN COULD BE AFFECTED
Even growers who did not plant Viptera® or Duracade™ seed, may have suffered losses because they suffered an economic loss when the price of U.S. corn dropped. The way American corn is grown, gathered, stored and transported makes it essentially impossible to segregate grain by source, and even a small quantity of MIR162 grain can quickly disperse throughout the elevators, barges and grain trains. Therefore, even growers who did not plant Viptera® or Duracade™ were affected because the contamination of the U.S. corn supply meant that their corn was effectively barred from being imported into China.
WHO HAS A CLAIM?
Heninger Garrison Davis GMO corn lawyers are investigating claims of economic and financial loss from growers of corn from across the US. Heninger Garrison Davis represents growers from 37 states stretching from New York to Oregon, including important corn-producing states such as Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska.
Even if you feel you are not ready to file a suit, consult one of our qualified lawyers as soon as possible so that you will know your options. We do not charge any fees upfront. In fact, we will only charge attorney’s fees if we obtain a financial settlement for you. If you don’t win, we won’t get paid a legal fee. Call us today for your free case evaluation 1.800.241.9779.