Organic Consumers Association

OCA
Homepage

Previous Page

Click here to print this page

Make a Donation!

JOIN THE OCA NETWORK!

U.S. Farmers to Get $112 Million for GE Starlink Corn Contamination

GM WATCH daily
http://www.gmwatch.org
------
"StarLink shows that the biotechnology industry has to worry about more than consumer sentiment," - Thomas Reddick, a St. Louis-based attorney who chairs the American Bar Association's agricultural management committee

The National Corn Growers Association called the settlement "a step in the right direction, but payments amount to little more than 'a drop in the bucket' for farmers who experienced significant losses because of the StarLink disaster."

"The class action bar is teed up for the next big thing, and that's a force that can stifle innovation. You could push products off, such as biotech wheat, even when the public is ready for them." - Thomas Reddick

1.Starlink latest
2.What the Starlink fiasco tells us
------
1.NCGA: StarLink lawsuit moving closer to resolution
Pesticide & Toxic Chemical News
June 14, 2004

Corn farmers who filed claims last year as part of the class action lawsuit against StarLink corn may soon receive compensation for their losses, according to the National Corn Growers Association.

Thousands of growers who grew corn between 1998 and 2002 were eligible to receive a recovery from the "Non-StarLink Farmer Actions" settlement. After repeated inquiries by the Nebraska Corn Board, the Garden City Group a New York-based law firm, revealed that more than 150,000 claims were filed and just 6% of those claims were deficient, NCGA reported, adding that growers who filed deficient claims should have received a letter explaining how to correct the claim.

"The StarLink dilemma was an unfortunate situation for all corn growers, not just those who used the StarLink product," NCGA said in a statement. "Corn prices dropped significantly as a result of the situation and that impacted the entire industry. We're glad to see that qualified corn growers will finally be recouped for some of the lost market opportunities they experienced."

NCGA called the settlement "a step in the right direction, but payments amount to little more than 'a drop in the bucket' for farmers who experienced significant losses because of the StarLink disaster."

StarLink Logistics and Advanta USA agreed to pay a total of $112.2 million, including interest, to fund the settlement for non-StarLink commercial corn farmers nationwide. The Garden City Group estimated that farmers who qualify for a settlement would likely receive $1 to $2 per affected acre in the form of a prepaid debit card.

"StarLink shows that the biotechnology industry has to worry about more than consumer sentiment," Thomas Reddick, a St. Louis-based attorney who chairs the American Bar Association's agricultural management committee, told Pesticide & Toxic Chemical News. "The class action bar is teed up for the next big thing, and that's a force that can stifle innovation. You could push products off, such as biotech wheat, even when the public is ready for them."

For more information on the lawsuit, go to http://www.nonstarlinkfarmerssettlement.com/
-------
2.What the Starlink fiasco tells us

The Starlink fiasco started when in October 2000 traces of an Aventis GM corn [maize] called StarLink showed up in taco shells in the U.S. even though it was not approved for human consumption. It led to a massive recall of over 300 food brands. The 'StarLink' gene has also shown up unexpectedly in a second company's corn and in US corn exports. The Starlink fiasco has wide implications for the use of GM crops in farming.

BIG CONTAMINATION FACTOR
"In Iowa, StarLink corn represented 1 percent of the total crop, only 1 percent. It has tainted 50 percent of the harvest." ABC NEWS November 28, 2000

Dale Farnham, an Iowa State University agronomist:
"No one knows how far the corn pollen can travel, some studies have said a quarter of a mile"

"Aventis CropScience Wednesday was at a loss to explain why another variety of corn besides its StarLink brand is producing the [StarLink] Cry9C protein."
United Press International November 22, 2000, Second corn variety producing Cry9C

On the possibility of unintentional mixing of GM and non-GM post-harvest, agronomist Dale Farnham says: "There are no safeguards."

"The US Department of Agriculture claims to know where the maize ‹ banned from all food use globally and only recently approved for US exports ‹ is located. Aventis, the French firm which developed the genetically modified maize sold throughout the US maize belt in 1999 and 2000, says it knows, also. So do I: StarLink maize is everywhere." US agricultural journalist Alan Guebert writing in Farmers Weekly, December 8, 2000

BIG LEMMING FACTOR... F-F-F-F-FASHION!
Donald White, a University of Illinois plant pathologist, on why US farmers have gone for GM corn: "...what happens is there is a herd mentality. Everyone has to have a biotech program." White's view chimes in with a University of Iowa study on why farmers were growing GM soya which concluded, "It is interesting to note....that increasing crop yields was cited by over half the farmers as the reason for planting GMO soybeans, yet yields were actually lower".

BIG ECONOMIC FACTOR
US corn exports to big buyers are being hurt: "...traders in Tokyo said on Wednesday the discovery that StarLink`s Cry9C protein had spread to another variety of corn only deepened doubts that U.S. corn can be kept free of genetic modification."

But in 1999 *even before Starlink* US corn exports to Europe dropped by 96% because the US cannot provide non-GM corn.

BAD FUTURE FACTOR

US corn farmer and GM seed salesman, Nebraska, Dec 2000: "....you guys [US Government] created this monster; you clean it up. I have learned my lesson. No more GMO crops on this farm ‹ ever." [quoted in UK 'Farmers Weekly' December 8, 2000]

All quotes unless otherwise indicated taken from:
Corn leaving bad taste in world markets as GMO worries build Reuters, Wednesday -- November 22, 2000