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Aventis faces another lawsuit over StarLink

(January 2, 2001- Cropchoice news) – Iowa farmer Marvin Kramer filed a class-action lawsuit last Friday against Aventis. The lawsuit claims that farmers suffered financial losses from cross-pollination and commingling of the company’s unapproved, genetically altered StarLink corn with non-GM varieties.

Kramer told Reuters that “Aventis knew that StarLink corn plants were likely to cross pollinate with non-StarLink varieties, thereby contaminating them and reducing their value by rendering the other varieties unfit for human consumption.

‘As a result of StarLink's illegal presence in a wide range of food products in the United States, and further as a result of the fact that StarLink has been found in corn destined for export markets, confidence in the integrity and safety of America's corn crop has evaporated in export markets.’”

Farmers planted StarLink corn, approved for use only in animal feed, on more than 340,000 acres in the United States in 2000; it grew on nearly 150,000 acres in Iowa.

After Japan and South Korea found StarLink in their U.S. corn imports (consumers there weren’t happy about it), the countries took their business elsewhere. Japan cut its U.S. corn imports by 50 percent and may increase its control over gmo-derived feed. South Korea banned the importation of U.S. corn.

Across the Atlantic, Spain also steered clear of StarLink. The EU country paid $97 a ton, $6 more than international prices on Dec. 22, for 150,000 tons of grade-three -- but GM-free -- corn from Brazil.

Safras e Mercado, an independent grains analyst, told Reuters that Spain paid the premium because the corn was non-transgenic. Brazil maintains a ban on growing genetically engineered grains for human or animal consumption. Safras predicts that Brazil will produce 37 million tons of corn this season.

Source: Reuters, AgWeb