Corn – it is one of the staples of world food production for both humans and livestock. What could be more natural than these ubiquitous stalks thickly dotting the American Midwest landscape?
Therein lies the problem. There is corn, and there is GMO (genetically modified organism) modified corn.
So what’s the difference? It’s all in the seeds. The seeds producing GMO corn have been genetically modified. Proteins that are entirely foreign to natural corn are injected into seeds, which then forever alter that corn’s DNA.
These DNA changes cause the plant to produce its own intracellular insecticide, as well as making some varieties much more impervious to specific herbicides.
So what’s the problem? Corn that fights off bugs while shrugging off weed killers should be welcome with wide open arms – right?
No, not at all.
While giant agra-corporations such as Syngenta tout their corn as a godsend, there are others who frankly call GMO produce “Frankenfoods.”
GMO CORN FOUND NOT TO BE EQUIVALENT
When we strip away the hype and hyperbole, we find GMO corn coming up short compared to its superstar billing.
In scientific testing, (2012 Nutritional Analysis: Comparison of GMO Corn versus Non-GMO Corn), GMO corn was compared to its non-GMO counterpart. The results were startling. Here is just a sample of the nutritional deficiencies:
Calcium – GMO Corn had 14 ppm (parts per million) calcium. Non-GMO 6,130 ppm
Magnesium – GMO corn 2 ppm, Non-GMO 113 ppm
Manganese – GMO 2 ppm, Non-GMO 14 ppm
Potassium – GMO 7 ppm, Non-GMO 113 ppm
Zinc – GMO 2.3 ppm, Non-GMO 14.3 ppm
There were some areas where GMO corn far outperformed non-GMO:
The Environmental Protection Agency puts a maximum limit on glyphosate in American drinking water at 0.7 ppm. GMO corn has 19 times that amount.
Likewise, GMO corn has more than 200 times the safety threshold of formaldehyde.
THE CHINESE CONNECTION
Before 2013, China was a major importer of USA grown corn. Only one thing – China did not allow the importation of GMO varieties. Syngenta was well aware of these restrictions, to the point of actively pursuing exemptions from the Chinese ban on GMOs.
In 2013, China tested American corn shipments and found mixed in with the normal corn was the GMO variety MIR 162 – Syngenta’s Viptera and Duracade corn.
The Chinese not only refused the corn shipment they tested, but placed a total ban on ALL American corn imports. It did not matter if the corn was GMO or not. The Chinese market was off the table.
This action caused a domino effect for all U.S. corn producers. Losing the Chinese market was bad enough, but the ban depressed corn prices worldwide, as well as placing a stigma on legitimate exports. Corn prices have since plummeted almost 60% from their 2012 peak.
Current estimates run as high as a 2.9 billion dollar loss for American farmers. As the saying goes “That ain’t just hay.”
It became apparent it was not just a matter of trying to pull a fast one over on China. Two major corn producers, Cargill and Trans Coastal accused Syngenta of mismanaging their operations. The Viptera and Duracade GMO traits were appearing in non-GMO corn fields.
Whether the seeds were wind-blown, insect carried, bird transported or just happened to find their way into the fields due to sloppy handling – the damage was done. No mass producer could be sure their corn was left untainted by Syngenta’s creations. The Viptera and Duracade genies were loosed upon the mass food chain, and trying to get them back under control would be a logistical nightmare.
CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT
Cargill and Trans Coastal sued Syngenta, accusing them of both negligence and greed respectively in managing their GMO corn. Syngenta has not stopped supplying the Viptera and Duracade GMO seed varieties, and the Chinese ban is active currently.
The Syngenta lawsuits have been combined in class action litigation. So many parties have claimed harm that this was the most efficient way to handle all these divergent cases.
Anyone who was NOT planting Syngenta Viptera and Duracade corn is part of this class action suit.
Syngenta Class Action Lawsuit
If you are or were a corn producer affected by the China ban on USA corn exports, it is advisable you fully educate yourself on the merits of your possible losses, as well as the advantages or disadvantages of this class action lawsuit.
Terry Bryant Law Firm has been in the forefront of consumer protection for over 30 years – helping Texas residents with their legal problems and concerns, ensuring their clients get the very best advice, assistance and compensation they are entitled to.
Attorney Terry Bryant
Terry Bryant is Board Certified in personal injury trial law, which means his extensive knowledge of the law has been recognized by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, setting him apart from many other injury attorneys. The 22 years he spent as a Municipal Judge, Spring Valley Village, TX also provides him keen insight into the Texas court system. That experience also helps shape his perspective on personal injury cases and how they might resolve. This unique insight benefits his clients. [ Attorney Bio ]
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