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GMO backlash: Syngenta faces mounting lawsuits over genetically-modified seeds Tags: Agriculture China Commodities Court Food GMO Health Law USA

GMO backlash: Syngenta faces mounting lawsuits over genetically-modified seeds

RT October 21, 2014 short URL


RIA Novosti / Katerina Sovdagari
Agribusiness giant Syngenta AG now faces lawsuits from farmers in 11 US states claiming the seed-and-chemical company’s sale of a genetically-engineered variant of corn yet to receive approval in China depressed market prices for the grain.

At issue is Syngenta’s 2009 release and distribution of its MIR162 genetically-modified corn known as Agrisure Viptera, which is engineered to fend off certain insects known to decimate corn crops. While approved for use in the United States, Chinese regulators have yet to sanction the export of Viptera.

Last November, China began rejecting US corn shipments based on the existence of Viptera leading to more than $1 billion in damages for US farmers, plaintiffs in 11 states have alleged in various lawsuits filed in federal courts in recent weeks. RT reported earlier this month on three of these lawsuits against Switzerland-based Syngenta.

Farmers in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi joined the fray last week, as plaintiffs aim to reach class-action status with their combined suits, The Wall Street Journal reported.

 

Different varieties of wild or experimental peppers are displayed on a tablein a greenhouse, part of a global center which selects vegetable and fruit seeds, owned by global Swiss agribusiness Syngenta AG, in Sarrians, southeastern France. (AFP Photo / Sandra Laffont)

Different varieties of wild or experimental peppers are displayed on a tablein a greenhouse, part of a global center which selects vegetable and fruit seeds, owned by global Swiss agribusiness Syngenta AG, in Sarrians, southeastern France. (AFP Photo / Sandra Laffont)

 

A lawsuit filed in Iowa alleged that the release of Syngenta’s Viptera caused the US-to-China corn export market to fall by 85 percent. "Syngenta's decision to bring Viptera to the market crippled the 2013-14 corn export market to China," plaintiffs in Nebraska stated in their own suit.

Plaintiffs have accused the company of engaging in willful misrepresentation. Syngenta has claimed that "the vast majority of corn produced in the US is used domestically," plaintiffs have alleged, and that exports are not as important, though the US Department of Agriculture says 20 percent of corn produced in the US is exported.

 

John Ramsay, Chief Financial Officer, of Swiss agrochemicals group Syngenta (AFP Photo / Shaun Curry)

John Ramsay, Chief Financial Officer, of Swiss agrochemicals group Syngenta (AFP Photo / Shaun Curry)

 

Syngenta has maintained that it is not at fault for the plunge in corn prices, that it has always been open about Viptera’s approval status, and that the Chinese government should not be able to tell US farmers what corn they can grow.

“We continue to believe that [we have] complied with all the laws, rules and regulations of the countries in which we’re selling the product,” John Ramsay, Syngenta’s chief financial officer, said Thursday during a conference call, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Viptera has been sold legally to farmers in the US, Argentina, and Brazil since 2011. The GMO strain of corn is said to heighten protection against the likes of black cutworms and corn earworms.

James Pizzirusso, a partner at Hausfeld LLP, a law firm involved in some of the suits against Syngenta, echoed accusations that the company has not been transparent with Viptera and its status in Beijing.

“Syngenta should not have marketed and aggressively promoted Viptera while misrepresenting that Chinese approval was imminent and also downplaying the importance of the Chinese export market,” Pizzirusso said, according to the Wall Street Journal.

In addition to the at least $1 billion in damages, the farmers seek an end of the cultivation and marketing of Viptera.

Though Viptera has been planted on only about three percent of US farm acreage, it is difficult to say for sure "that any shipments of US corn will not be contaminated with trace amounts of MIR162," the Nebraska plaintiffs said in their suit filed earlier this month.

The commingling of corn from various sources at corn distribution centers is “essentially impossible," according to the Iowa complaint, which cited other major grain companies Archer Daniels Midland and Cargill Inc., which do not accept Viptera.

Syngenta has been encouraged by the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) to stop selling Viptera, according to the Iowa claim. The NGFA has estimated that actions taken in China against US corn have caused prices to drop by 11 cents per bushel.

In April, the NGFA, a trade organization for grain elevators, reported that China had barred nearly 1.45 million tons of corn shipments since 2013, resulting in about $427 million in lost sales.

 

The US Department of Agriculture building (AFP Photo / Saul Loeb)

The US Department of Agriculture building (AFP Photo / Saul Loeb)

 

The farmers’ lawsuits join cases filed by Cargill and Trans Coastal Supply Co., grain exporters that also blame Syngenta for the loss of tens of millions of dollars based on Chinese rejection of GMO corn.

In 2011, Syngenta requested in federal court that a grain elevator firm, Bunge North America, remove signs that said it would not accept Viptera-variety corn. The request was denied in 2012.

Yet on Monday, a federal appeals court revived a false advertising claim in Syngenta’s lawsuit against Bunge, sending the claim back to a lower court for review.

The US Department of Agriculture expects 10 states to set records for corn production this year, though high productivity will likely lead to lower prices.

 

Solar Eclipse, Flare Watch | S0 News October 22, 2014 Tags: S0 News

Published on 22 Oct 2014

www.Suspicious0bservers.org
www.ObservatoryProject.com

Blog: http://www.suspicious0bserverscollect...
Major Warnings/Alerts: https://twitter.com/TheRealS0s
STARWATER Article: http://wavechronicle.com/wave/?p=1151
S0 Notes on Solar Shutdown: http://www.suspicious0bservers.org/fo...
IPCC History: http://www.suspicious0bservers.org/se...

Donate memberships for others: http://tiny.cc/f195ww

Today's Featured Links:
Florida Rain: http://www.wptv.com/news/region-c-pal...
Hudhud Snow: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov
Jordan Flood: http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=620_14...

Original music by NEMES1S
http://www.suspicious0bservers.org/shop/ [Get NEMES1S Music!]

REPEAT LINKS:

WORLD WEATHER:
Earth WindMap: http://earth.nullschool.net/#current/...
Global Maps: http://www.atmos.albany.edu/student/k...
NDBC Buoys: http://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/
HurricaneZone Satellite Images: http://www.hurricanezone.net/westpaci...
NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory: http://www.nnvl.noaa.gov/Default.php
Satellite Maps: http://www.woweather.com/cgi-app/sate...
Forecast Maps: http://www.woweather.com/weather/maps...
TORCON: http://www.weather.com/news/tornado-t... [Tornado Forecast for the day]
HURRICANE TRACKER: http://www.weather.com/weather/hurric...
GOES Satellites: http://rsd.gsfc.nasa.gov/goes/
THE US WINDMAP: http://hint.fm/wind/
Severe Weather Threats: http://www.weather.com/news/weather-s...
Canada Weather Office Satellite Composites: http://www.weatheroffice.gc.ca/satell...
Temperature Delta: http://www.intellicast.com/National/T...
Records/Extremes: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/extremes/rec...

SPACEWEATHER:
Spaceweather: http://spaceweather.com
SOHO Solar Wind: http://umtof.umd.edu/pm/
Planetary Orbital Diagram - Ceres1 JPL: http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/sbdb.cgi?sstr...
SDO: http://sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov/data/
Helioviewer: http://www.helioviewer.org/
SOHO: http://sohodata.nascom.nasa.gov/cgi-b...
Stereo: http://stereo.gsfc.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/i...
SOLARIMG: http://solarimg.org/artis/
iSWA: http://iswa.gsfc.nasa.gov/iswa/iSWA.html
NASA ENLIL SPIRAL: http://iswa.gsfc.nasa.gov:8080/IswaSy...
NOAA ENLIL SPIRAL: http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/wsa-enlil/
GOES Xray: http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/sxi/goes15/i...
Gamma Ray Bursts: http://grb.sonoma.edu/
BARTOL Cosmic Rays: http://neutronm.bartol.udel.edu//spac...
ISWA: http://iswa.ccmc.gsfc.nasa.gov:8080/I...
NOAA Sunspot Classifications: http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/ftpdir/lates...
GONG: http://gong2.nso.edu/dailyimages/
GONG Magnetic Maps: http://gong.nso.edu/data/magmap/ondem...


MISC Links:
JAPAN Radiation Map: http://jciv.iidj.net/map/
RADIATION Network: http://radiationnetwork.com/
LISS: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/monitoring...
QUAKES LIST FULL: http://www.emsc-csem.org/Earthquake/s...
RSOE: http://hisz.rsoe.hu/alertmap/index2.php [That cool alert map I use]
Moon: http://www.fourmilab.ch/earthview/pac...

 

US Army withheld promise from Germany that Ebola virus wouldn't be weaponized Tags: Army Health Medicine USA WikiLeaks

US Army withheld promise from Germany that Ebola virus wouldn't be weaponized

RT October 20, 2014 short URL

Bystanders read headlines saying "Ebola 1: USA 0" at the Daily Talk, a street side chalkboard newspaper, in Monrovia (Reuters / James Giahyue)

The United States has withheld assurances from Germany that the Ebola virus - among other related diseases - would not be weaponized in the event of Germany exporting it to the US Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases.

German MFA Deputy Head of Division for Export Control Markus Klinger provided a paper to the US consulate's Economics Office (Econoff), "seeking additional assurances related to a proposed export of extremely dangerous pathogens."

Germany subsequently made two follow-up requests and clarifications to the Army, according to the unclassified Wikileaks cable.

"This matter concerns the complete genome of viruses such as the Zaire Ebola virus, the Lake Victoria Marburg virus, the Machupo virus and the Lassa virus, which are absolutely among the most dangerous pathogens in the world," the request notes.

The Zaire Ebola virus was the same strain of Ebola virus which has been rampaging through West Africa in recent months.

"The delivery would place the recipient in the position of being able to create replicating recombinant infectious species of these viruses," the cable notes.

However, it also points out that Germany has in place an "exceptionally restrictive policy," adding that approval would not be granted to the export until US assurance was provided.

"A decision about the export has not yet been made. Given the foregoing, we would appreciate confirmation that the end use certificate really is from the Department of the Army and of the accuracy of the data contained therein," the document stated.

There is no follow-up document available to confirm whether the US Army eventually provided Germany with the necessary guarantees.

Bioweapons were outlawed in the Biological Weapons Convention of 1972 and was signed and ratified by 179 signatories, including Germany, the US and Russia.

It dictates that signatories, "under all circumstances the use of bacteriological (biological) and toxin weapons is effectively prohibited by the Convention" and "the determination of States parties to condemn any use of biological agents or toxins other than for peaceful purposes, by anyone at any time."

 

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