Called Agrisure Viptera, the genetically modified seed did receive approval in the US in 2010, and Syngenta approached China that same year to allow the importation of the corn. However, Syngenta began selling the seed to farmers before it had received the go-ahead from China.
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While China has subsequently approved importation of Viptera corn for feed and food use, the lawsuits are going ahead, as the farmers allege they have already been damaged by Syngenta’s actions.
According to one lawsuit filed in Ohio, Syngenta knew that Viptera corn would contaminate the US corn supply. Still, Syngenta “gambled US farmers’ livelihood on approval of Viptera by the major corn-importing countries,” the complaint states. Compounding problems for the farmers, Syngenta began selling a second genetically modified corn seed, Duracade, in late 2012, according to the lawsuit.
Currently, about 170 lawsuits are pending against the company, and more will likely follow.