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14.03.2018 |

Nationwide GMO corn class action lawsuit settled for $1.51 billion

Settlement against Syngenta believed to be largest agricultural litigation settlement in U.S. history.

A $1.51 billion settlement has been reached in the nationwide class action lawsuit filed in Kansas federal court over Syngenta's genetically modified Viptera corn seed. It is believed to be the largest agricultural litigation settlement in U.S. history.

The settlement was first announced in September, but the details weren’t made public until the March 12 filing.

A motion for preliminary approval has been filed. The settlement must be approved by the Honorable John W. Lungstrum, a United States District Judge for the District of Kansas.

If preliminarily approved, the settlement terms and claims process information will be set forth in notices mailed to class members and published in various media outlets across the country, as well as in a settlement website.

14.03.2018 |

EC forced to reopen 2015 decision on allowing GMO soy imports

The EU Commission has been forced to revisit a 2015 decision to allow the import of genetically-modified soybeans after a court rules it breached a technicality on deciding that the modified oilseed had no impact on human or animal health or on the environment.

The European Court of Justice said Wednesday the EU executive must review whether the EU’s food and safety body should have consulted with non-governmental organisations when declaring GMO oilseeds fit for consumption in 2015.

An executive director for the complainant company – Berlin-based anti-GMO lobby group TestBiotech – told Agricensus that the internal review on the environmental impact of GMO beans would now be reopened.

“We are using the law to increase the level of protection but importing these [genetically modified] soybeans will be a political decision in the end,” Christoph Then said.

“The current risk assessment is not in accordance with the law and there are gaps in it,” he added.

In November 2015, the EC rejected an application by TestBiotech to review a decision by its food safety body to allow genetically modified soybeans in the EU market because the body did not consult with civil society - as required under the Aarhus Regulation.

13.03.2018 |

Syngenta GMO Corn Seed Lawsuits: $1.51B Deal Agreed

This is a settlement for the Syngenta GMO Corn Seed Lawsuits lawsuit.

Santa Cruz, CA: A $1.51 billion settlement has been agreed between Syngenta AG and a nationwide class of plaintiffs who allege the chemical company should have delayed the release of its genetically modified corn seed until Chinese authorities, who represent a major corn market for US farmers, approved importing the GMO corn.

The settlement deal for multidistrict litigation (MDL) covers all cases brought by corn growers, grain facilities and ethanol plants across the US, who bought insect-resistant GMO corn seeds from Syngenta during the class period. Only four plaintiffs have not opted in.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs said the deal is believed to be “the largest agricultural litigation settlement in US history.” The firm also noted that even farmers who may have opted out of previous Syngenta lawsuits are eligible for the settlement, and said funds could be distributed as soon as the first half of 2019.

13.03.2018 |

South Korea: Civic groups demonstrate to demand labeling of GMO products

A diverse group of 57 civic organizations, including the Citizens’ Coalition for Economic Justice and the Korea Federation for Environmental Movements, demonstrated in the fountains in front of the Blue House on Mar. 12 to demand explicit labeling of genetically modified organism (GMO) products.

13.03.2018 |

India slashes Monsanto's GMO seed royalty, says US firm 'free to leave' anytime

India has cut royalties that local seed companies pay to US agrochemical giant Monsanto for the second time in two years. The producer of genetically modified seeds has previously threatened to pull out of the country.

According to a government order released on Tuesday, the country’s farm ministry has decided to reduce royalties paid by Indian seed companies to Monsanto for its genetically modified (GM) cotton by 20.4 percent.

Two years ago, the company’s royalties were cut by more than 70 percent. The move triggered a long-running dispute between the Indian and US governments.

12.03.2018 |

Kan. farmers to benefit from $1.5B settlement on GMO corn seed

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A Swiss agribusiness giant has agreed to a $1.5 billion settlement in a lawsuit over genetically modified corn seed variety.

Officials for Syngenta and attorneys for thousands of farmers, ethanol plants and other grain handlers announced the settlement Monday of a class action lawsuit.

The lawsuits were filed after Syngenta introduced its Viptera seed strain to the U.S. market before it was approved by China for imports. Attorneys for the plaintiffs argued that Syngenta’s decision cost U.S. corn producers and handlers access to the Chinese corn market for years.

09.03.2018 |

Illegal GM Soybean: Farmers’ body demands CBI probe into GEAC inaction  

The biosafety regulatory body denies receiving any complain about illegal cultivation of GM Soybean in some parts of Gujarat

After inaction over four months on complaint of growing illegal genetically modified (GM) soybean in Gujarat, farmer organisation, Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS) demands CBI probe against biosafety regulatory body Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) along with a case of treason against officials. It also demanded ban on Glyphosate—herbicide sprayed on GM crops. BKS claims that it is carcinogenic.

Meanwhile, GEAC has denied receiving any complaint by farmers or civil society body. “We have not received any complain regarding growing and testing report of HT (Herbicide Tolerant) soya in Gujarat,” says Sujata Arora, adviser on biosafety to Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) to Down To Earth.

The GM crops are not considered safe to grow because of gene manipulation. The inaction of GEAC, which is responsible for regulating introduction or growth of GM crops in country, shows how this regulatory body is in shambles.

09.03.2018 |

EPA wants public comments on GM bugs

If you have something to say about the possible release of genetically modified mosquitoes in the Florida Keys or elsewhere, now’s the time to do it.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Friday opened the month-long public comment period on the possible release of GM mosquitoes by British biotech company Oxitec, which submitted an application with the EPA in December. The EPA now has until July to make a decision on whether it will issue an experimental-use permit for a trial in the Keys.

Oxitec wants to release its male mosquitoes that are reared with a self-limiting gene. So when the males, which don’t bite, are released into the wild to mate with wild females, the gene is passed on and the offspring never survive to adulthood, according to product development manager Dr. Derric Nimmo.

08.03.2018 |

GMO corn, grains not approved in China

China has not approved commercial production of genetically modified corn or any other GMO grain, the Ministry of Agriculture said on Wednesday.

Currently only GMO cotton and papaya are allowed to grow on a commercial scale in China, Pan Xianzheng, ministry spokesman, said at a news conference on the sidelines of the ongoing two sessions. Agricultural authorities in China have been strictly adhering to laws and regulations over evaluations and management of genetically modified products to ensure their safety, he said.

08.03.2018 |

Concerns Over a Monsanto - Bayer Merger

Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager, has until 5th April to reach a final decision as to whether or not to approve the takeover of Monsanto by Bayer. If the company wins conditional antitrust approval for its $62.5 billion bid, the merger would create a company with a share of more than a quarter of the world’s seed and pesticides market.

The consideration of the merger has already been a lengthy process. Bayer has moved to resolve some of Vestager’s main concerns after she opened an in-depth probe into the deal in August. To placate opposition voices, the corporations have divested some key assets (such as Bayer’s LibertyLink) to reduce the appearance of monopolistic market control but the deal may be permanently blocked unless Bayer makes more significant concessions.

It is generally assumed that if approved, the merger would create a risky consolidation of corporate power that could make life more difficult for farmers using pesticides and manufactured fertilisers. These mergers could threaten food sovereignty around the world by limiting the ability of farmers to make independent choices for themselves, and lock them into damaging and detrimental contracts. It is certainly essential that EU regulators properly investigate before it’s too late.

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