Lawsuit with worldwide implications will be decided in Hahnville
Archer Daniels Midland Co. has sued a Swiss agribusiness because they say that company’s genetically engineered corn has tainted much of the regular corn crop in the United States. That has caused China has rejected shipments of corn from ADM, resulting in “tens of millions of dollars” in losses, ADM said.
The lawsuit was filed in Hahnville.
Syngenta, the company sued by ADM, began selling genetically modified seeds to United States farmers in 2010, according to the lawsuit. The company, ADM says, assured the United States Department of Agriculture that they would keep the genetically engineered corn separate from regular corn, but failed to do so.
Now, that genetically engineered corn has tainted much of the regular corn crop by cross pollination and commingling, which occurred when it was mixed with regular corn at grain elevators and elsewhere in the distribution chain, ADM alleges.
ADM buys corn and other crops sold by farmers and sells those crops to customers in the U.S. and around the world. However, some of ADM’s corn, which was bound for China, was turned away after Chinese regulatory authorities detected the biotech corn, which is banned in the Asian country.
According to ADM, China is the second-largest consumer of corn in the world. Approximately two thirds of ADM’s exports of corn to China were sent from one of the company’s four grain elevators in Louisiana. One of those grain elevators resides in Destrehan.
Farmers across the country have also filed lawsuits against Syngenta because of a decline in corn exports to China.
U.S. corn exports to China decreased by 87 percent in the first nine months of 2014 compared with the same period in 2013, according to USDA data.