• A sign supporting non-GMO products in the U.S.

A sign supporting non-GMO products in the U.S. (Photo : Reuters)

While China already lifted its ban on genetically modified corn, developer Sygenta still faces multi-billion-dollar lawsuits for destroying corn imports to China.

This is in relation to the Nov. 2013 ban imposed by the government on U.S. corn shipments after uncovering corn with Sygenta's MIR162 in the imports.

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Sygenta genetically engineered M1R162 for the sole purpose of resisting pests. The corn penetrated the U.S. market in 2009 under the brand Agrisure Viptera. A second-generation strain was engineered and released in 2014, known as Duracade. However, because majority of countries, China included, did not authorize corn having the MIR162 trait, U.S. farmers asserted that Sygenta was reckless in its actions.

In its complaint, the D&D Olson Farms filed a federal lawsuit on Feb. 13 stating Sygenta acted recklessly without consideration "of the consequences of inflicting widespread harm to the U.S. corn market."

Back in Dec. 2014, however, China already allowed for the GM corn to enter its market. Sygenta was pleased with the said authorization. This does not mean those class actions against them would disappear though.

Plantiffs are still decrying Sygenta's actions, claiming that they lost billions in damages and profits. Some of the complainants also accused Sygenta of lying with regard the extent of Chinese influence on the U.S. corn export market. The company is said to have deceived countless U.S. farmers into adopting planting practices that adhere to cross-contamination of normal corn with Sygenta's GMO corn. As a result, the U.S. grain supply was contaminated.

As China imposed a ban on genetically modified corn from Nov. 2013 to Dec. 2014, U.S. companies lost significant amounts of profits. The U.S., being the third-largest importer of corn from China, was slated to import nearly 7 million tons of corn in 2013. However, with the ban in effect, China's supposedly huge demand for U.S. corn dropped by 85 percent.

In 2012 alone, China's demand for U.S. corn reached 5 million tons. Lawsuits against Sygenta assert that the company knows that China would not approve of MIR162 yet until 2015, but still sold the seed to many U.S. farmers and pushed them into a position of loss.