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Jul 14, 2010

Bayer Loses 5th Trial over LibertyLink GM Rice

On 14 July 2010 the Washington Post reported that Bayer CropScience had lost a fifth legal battle over LibertyLink gene modified (GM) rice.  This most recent lawsuit  involved payment of $500,248 in damages. This decision follows two other defeats in state court and two other defeats in federal court.  To date, $52 million has been dispersed in jury awards.

The cases center on Bayer CropScience's lack of caution in 2006 when field testing LibertyLink GM rice in five southern US states.  When LibertyLink GM rice was discoverd in the U.S. long-grain rice supplies, in the summer of 2006, the European Union (EU) banned the importation of US rice.  Rice futures plummeted, costing U.S. farmers an estimated $150 million.  The EU ban extended from August through November 2006.

U.S. rice farmers are suing over economic losses.  According to an attorney for the plaintiffs, "rice exports to the EU fell off a cliff ... they still haven't recovered ... Europeans are still eating rice, but the customers we were selling to are now buying from these countries: Thailand, Pakistan, India and Uruguay."

This particular lawsuit was filed as Re Genetically Modified Rice Litigation, 06- md-1811 in U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Missouri (St. Louis).  Despite the fact that five separate juries have ruled against Bayer, attorneys for the German based company state that there is not sufficient evidence to prove they were responsible for the cross-contamination.

It is estimated that Bayer CropScience has been named in approximately 500 related lawsuits and faces 6,600 plaintiffs. They have said they are not considering a settlement at this time.

For more see related blog articles:

EU Removes Restrictions on U.S. Rice Imports, 19 April 2010.

Bayer to Pay $48M to Arkansas Rice Farmers For Cross-Contamination, 15 April 2010.

$2M Awarded to Farmers in Bayer GE Rice Trial, 4 Dec. 2009.

For the original article: Fisk, Margaret Cronin and Joe Whittington. "Bayer Loses Fifth Straight Trial Over U.S Rice Crops," Washington Post, 14 July 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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