Organic Consumers Association

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Federal Court Orders Bayer CropScience to Pay Farmers for Rice Crops Contaminated by GMOs

A federal court jury has ordered the German conglomerate Bayer CropScience to pay $1.5 million to farmers in Arkansas and Mississippi whose rice seed was contaminated with a genetically altered strain.

Friday's verdict was the second against Bayer CropScience for losses sustained by farmers when an experimental variety of rice that the company was testing infiltrated crops.

A jury awarded about $2 million to two Missouri farmers in December, and three additional test cases are scheduled for this year involving farmers from Louisiana and Texas as well as a rice exporter. No punitive damages have been awarded in any of the verdicts.

About 6,000 rice producers have filed claims against Bayer since the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced in August 2006 that trace amounts of the genetically modified Liberty Link rice were found in U.S. long-grain rice stocks, according to Don Downing, lead attorney for the plaintiffs in the first two cases.

Bayer and Louisiana State University had been testing genetically modified rice, bred to resist a Bayer brand of herbicide, at a school-run facility in Crowley, La.

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