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Apr 15, 2010

Bayer to Pay $48M to U.S. Farmers For GM Rice Contamination

A jury decided that German multinational Bayer CropScience is guilty of the allowing its Liberty Link gene modified (GM) rice to co-mingle and contaminate commercial rice.  The firm must pay compensatory damages of $48 million to a dozen Arkansas farmers who suffered from the drop in rice prices once the contamination was reported. 

Bayer developed Liberty Link rice to be resistant to its herbicide Liberty Link.  It was being field testing in the United States and had not been approved for commercial release when the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced in August 2006 that trace amounts had been identified in U.S. rice stocks.  European nations refused to accept shipments of U.S. rice without extensive testing.  Japan banned all U.S. rice.  As a result, rice future plummeted $150 million.

Bayer has been sued by dozens of rice farmers in Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Texas.  This is the fourth case to go to trial.  Bayer argues that the USDA has no proven how the trace amounts of Libery Link were discovered in the U.S. rice stocks.   The farmers filing suit against the company argue that Bayer was "not only negligent in its handling of Liberty Link rice, but acted with malicious intent by not announcing the contamination of the commercial rice-seed pool as soon as the company learned of it."

For more see: Parsons, Tom.  "Jury tells Bayer to pay Ark. rice farmers $48M." AP, Little Rock, Arkansas, 15 April 2010.

About Margaret

CEO and Curator (The Food Museum) | Managing Director and Chief Editor (GR2 Global LLC) | Educator (UCLA PhD) | Researching and writing on global food issues, nutrition and health, sustainability, history (preservation), conservation (natural resources), and design.
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