Syngenta Facing Over 100 Lawsuits for Losses After GMO Corn Rejected by China

Jonathan Schoenfeld
January 5, 2015

(TheAntiMedia) Iowa farmers are looking to take legal action against Syngenta AG over seeds that have been rejected in the Chinese marketplace. Sixteen farmers and businesses were surprised when China refused shipments of genetically engineered corn seeds developed by Syngenta. The businesses are suing Syngenta for monetary and punitive damages from suffered financial losses. Syngenta, which is based in Switzerland, is now facing over 100 lawsuits from farmers and commodity traders.

“Syngenta has caused damages to U.S. farmers, grain handlers and exporters,” the latest lawsuits allege. “Syngenta’s conduct in marketing, distributing and selling unapproved corn seed violates the legal standards of the marketplace because the primary market risk falls on U.S. farmers, grain handlers and exporters; not on Syngenta.”

Seed companies are not required to tell farmers that their seeds are not approved worldwide. This can be an issue, and some of the farmers suing are simply seeking clarity on the matter.

“Either tell me the limitations on it upfront or make sure I don’t have limitations on it when I go forward. This is a problem we could face over and over again so let’s get some legal precedent and guidelines here to help us.”

The approval process for seeds can be tedious and time consuming. The seeds were submitted by Syngenta in 2010 and are still unapproved in China, but have been approved in Argentina, Brazil, and the United States. China has made their suspicion for genetically modified products publicly known. Some people blame China’s food approval process for some of the import issues.

“China’s is one of the worst,” David Miller, director of research at the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, said of its approval process. “You create this dilemma of how long does a company sit on technology that has been approved in (the United States) and may be approved with many trading partners and China hasn’t even taken up the process yet.”

With all of the controversy surrounding genetically modified foods; can China really be blamed for wanting what’s best for their citizens? Companies like Syngenta and Monsanto have policies which place business over public and environmental safety. Those policies are then reinforced by corrupt government bureaucracies and lawmakers. While they are far from perfect in regards to their own country’s policies, China at least has shown some ethical standards with imported food products.

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