Taco Bell Chain Sues Aventis Over Biotech Corn Debacle

Taco Bell Chain Sues Aventis
Over Biotech Corn Debacle

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
September 20, 2001
Taco Bell, others sue over StarLink corn

FAYETTEVILLE -- A group of national and international corn and biotechnology
firms acted together to cause a collapse of the U.S. corn market, alleges a
lawsuit filed by thousands of Taco Bell restaurants and others.

The class-action suit, filed Monday in Washington County Circuit Court,
seeks millions of dollars in compensation and punitive damages for companies
that allegedly lost business because they used a certain genetically altered
corn in their products.

The case was brought on behalf of 4,600 Taco Bell restaurant franchises and
owners in the United States; four Arkansas-based companies, Tyson Mexican
Original Inc., T.B. Barrett Inc., Russ Taco Inc. and Dar-Taco Inc.; and two
other companies, McLean Foods in North Carolina and Heartland Bells Inc. in
the state of Washington.

Defendants include Aventis Cropscience USA Holding, a multinational
biotechnology company; Garst Seed Co.; Gruma Corp., the largest producer and
distributor of corn flour and tortillas in the United States; Azteca Milling
LP, another producer of corn masa flour; and other still-to-be-discovered

According to the suit, the defendants developed, marketed and distributed
genetically altered StarLink corn and intentionally or recklessly
participated in fraudulent, deceptive conduct that led to StarLink's use in
hundreds of items that people eat.

The introduction of StarLink corn has resulted in "major disruptions of the
food supply," according to the lawsuit. StarLink is the trademark for a type
of corn that is genetically altered to resist disease.

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