American farmers and business have lost billions of dollars because of Syngenta’s genetically modified Viptera corn seed. Viptera and other Syngenta seeds have contaminated American crops and affected international grain sales. The company did not get approval for its seed in all major corn buying countries, resulting in bans against American corn shipments to China, one of the largest buyers. The results have been catastrophic for American agribusiness.
If your business has been affected by China’s ban on Viptera and other modified corn seeds, you may have a case for a financial recover from Syngenta. Thousands of farmers and businesses have filed suit against Syngenta. The attorneys of John Foy & Associates are accepting Viptera corn seed lawsuits across all 50 states. We are one of the largest and most experienced law firms accepting these cases, and have decades of experience helping business recover damages from faulty products like Viptera. Let us give your business a free, detailed case consultation. Call us at 404-400-4000 and get your free consultation today.
What is Viptera corn and why was it developed?
Viptera is a genetically modified (GMO) corn seed developed by the Swiss company Syngenta AG. The official name of the strain of corn seed is MIR 162. It was sold under the company’s Agrisure line, and marketed under two names:
- Agrisure Viptera
- Agrisure Duracade
The Viptera seed was developed to be more resistant to insects and other forms of crop damage. It’s supposed to minimize damage from common corn pests including the earworm, cutworm, and corn borer. It also stands up better to mold and reduces contamination from mold toxins. This was intended to give farmers a higher yield of corn, with healthier ears and higher quality grain. In theory, it sounds like a good crop, but for US farmers, Viptera has been a disaster.
What went wrong with Viptera corn seed?
GMO crops are tightly regulated in much of the world. These regulations affect how crops can be sold internationally. Syngenta was aware of this and did not wait until its seed was approved in major corn buying countries before proceeding to market it. The company pushed the corn seed out to farmers without getting regulatory clearance worldwide.
This backfired in November 2013 when China banned the import of genetically modified corn seed. As one of the world’s largest buyers of corn, China’s decision devastated American growers and distributors. And Syngenta’s customers weren’t the only ones affected—it turns out that Viptera had already contaminated much of the American corn supply.
How did Viptera get into American corn crops?
Only a tiny percentage of American farmers have actually purchased and planted the Viptera seed. In fact, originally only 3% of all US corn growing land was planted with GMO seeds. But the amount of GMOs in the corn supply, and specifically Viptera, has spread rapidly. This amounts to “contamination” of regular corn supply with Viptera seeds.
This contamination happens two ways:
- Comingling of seed. Corn is not usually shipped internationally on a farm-by-farm basis. Individual growers may or may not user a given modified corn seed, but the corn becomes comingled during processing and distribution. Corn shipped overseas may come from dozens or even hundreds of different fields. This system relies on GMO producers getting pre-approval for each strain of corn seed that they sell—something that Syngenta did not do. As a result, Viptera corn became been mixed into grain supplies that could otherwise have been cleared for sale in China. China has refused to accept shipments that contain even tiny trace amounts of the Viptera corn.
- Cross pollination. Once a seed is planted in any field it has a tendency to spread to surrounding areas. Farmers know this and generally follow the manufacturer’s guidelines on how and where to plant it to minimize cross-pollination to other fields. But Syngenta’s promotions encouraged farmers to plant Viptera side by side with other corn. This means that the Viptera trait has now cross-pollinated with a substantial amount of US corn.
What effect has Viptera corn contamination had on American business?
The effect has been devastating. China has been strict in enforcing its ban, and many shipments of corn that were thought to be “clean” were rejected for trace amounts of Viptera. In total over 1.4 million metric tons of corn were turned away.
But it wasn’t just those shipments that were affected. With the loss of a major market, the value of GMO corn crops plummeted. Growers, distributors, exporters, and corn elevator operators all saw losses. Farmers alone have lost over $1 billion. Some estimates put the total as high as $2.6 billion.
Is Syngenta liable for the losses?
Yes, Syngenta bears responsibility for the losses caused by their product. The problems caused by the Viptera seed were a direct result of the companies’ actions:
- They did not get their GMO seed approved by major buyer nations before marketing it to growers
- Promotions encouraged farmers to plant the corn in a way that led to cross-contamination with other corn crops
These actions were reckless. They put not only Syngenta’s customers, but an entire industry at risk. The legal term for this is negligence, and the negligent party is liable for all of the damages.
Can farmers can win a lawsuit against Syngenta?
It looks increasingly likely. Over 2,000 farmers and businesses have now filed lawsuits against Syngenta. Originally Syngenta tried to have these lawsuits dismissed, but that request has now been denied and the first cases are already slated for trial.
The cases against Syngenta include both individual lawsuits and class action lawsuits. Class actions allow thousands of farmers and businesses to be represented in a single case, dramatically lowering legal costs. At John Foy & Associates, we charge nothing unless we win a financial recovery for you.
Do I have a case against Syngenta?
If your business lost money because of Viptera corn seed, you may have a strong case against Syngenta. This applies whether or not you were a Syngenta customer.
Let John Foy & Associates help you. We are currently accepting Viptera cases and we have the legal experience to handle your case correctly. You don’t have to swallow the losses caused by Syngenta. Call 404-400-4000 and get your free consultation today.