Syngenta GMO Corn

Heninger Garrison Davis represents over 3,000 growers of corn across the U.S. in lawsuits against Syngenta over sale of GMO corn seeds containing the Agrisure Viptera® (MIR 162) and Agrisure Duracade™ (Event 5307) traits, prior to obtaining regulatory approval for the import of corn containing those traits into China. Heninger Garrison Davis is aggressively pursuing all claims on behalf of our clients, and has filed a lawsuit against Syngenta in the Southern District of Illinois, alleging that Syngenta knew, or should have known, that commercializing Viptera® and Duracade™ without approval to import corn containing those traits would lead to the contamination of U.S. corn shipments, and prevent U.S. corn from being sold to export markets such as China.   Due to the nature of the damages in this case, we believe that all U.S. growers who planted corn between 2011 and 2015 may have a claim against Syngenta, and that it is not necessary for a grower to have planted Viptera® or Duracade™ corn during that time period in order to have a claim.

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™.


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.


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.

Syngenta-InfographicWhat is the financial impact?

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.

Free Legal Consultation

Please contact one of our China GMO corn lawyers to learn more about the legal options available to you, please contact us today to schedule your free Syngenta corn lawsuit review.