MONTGOMERY, ALA. (October 28, 2014) – Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C., is pursuing claims on behalf of those allegedly harmed by Syngenta Corporation’s market conduct resulting in depressed market prices for farmers in the corn export market. The issue is that China and other countries are turning away American-grown genetically modified corn. Because much of American corn farming revenue is generated through exports, the ban has caused a significant negative price impact on corn prices, hurting U.S. farmers.
Syngenta develops and sells corn seed that includes certain genetically engineered traits. The problem stems from a particular genetically modified trait found in Syngenta-developed corn. Two of its developments, Viptera corn and Duracade corn, contain a genetically modified trait known as MIR162. Though this trait is approved for sale in the United States, China – one of the key importers of United States corn – has not approved the trait and refuses to accept imports of modified corn.
“Syngenta’s marketing plan for the modified corn products Viptera and Duracade created a systemic problem with the entire corn supply in the United States, which is now viewed by some countries such as China as ‘contaminated,’” said W. Daniel “Dee” Miles, III, a principal at Beasley Allen and head of the firm’s Consumer Fraud Section. “This perception resulted in corn prices falling in a tailspin and damaging this country’s hard-working farmers. They need help, and we plan to help them,” he said.
The U.S. corn marketing system is commodity-based. That means that the corn grown by farmers is harvested, gathered, commingled, consolidated, and otherwise shipped from thousands of farms to local, regional and terminal distribution centers. From there, it is often transported by exporters to foreign countries. In order to maintain the stability of the corn marketing and distribution system, it is vital that the U.S. corn supply and exports maintain the highest standards of purity and integrity.
In November of 2013, Chinese regulatory officials found traces of MIR162 in corn shipments from the United States. As a result, China has rejected shipments of United States corn, causing farmers and grain handlers across the country to suffer significant economic losses.
The class action lawsuits filed by Beasley Allen covering more than a dozen states allege Syngenta released MIR162 into the marketplace knowing it lacked approval in China and knowing that commingling of corn is essentially inevitable. Release of the trait led to the contamination of the United States corn supply and is continuing to foreclose the United States export market to China.
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