Monsanto Sued over GMO Wheat Discovery

June 4, 2013

2 Min Read
Monsanto Sued over GMO Wheat Discovery

WICHITA, Kan.In a lawsuit filed against Monsanto Company, a Kansas farmer is seeking more than $100,000 in damages following a discovery that has alienated importers of U.S. wheat. 

Ernest Barnes has sued Monsanto in federal court, claiming his "livelihood is now at serious risk" due to the company's "negligence or gross negligence."

The complaint cites "sharply declining" wheat prices and decisions by Japan and South Korea to suspend certain imports of the crop after the discovery of genetically-modified wheat on an Oregon farm came to light.

Years earlier, Monsanto was authorized to test the crop in several states including Kansas although it never was approved for commercial production or sale. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has launched a probe into how the crop ended up on the farm.

"Monsanto has failed our nation's wheat farmers," said Stephen Susman, Susman Godfrey's lead attorney on the case, in a statement. "We believe Monsanto knew of the risks its genetically altered wheat posed and failed to protect farmers and their crops from those risks."

Monsanto, the agricultural biotechnology company based in St. Louis, Mo., maintains the lawsuit is premature and unfounded.

Tractor chasing lawyers have prematurely filed suit without any evidence of fault and in advance of the crops harvest," said David Snively, Monsanto Executive Vice President and General Counsel, in a statement.

Barnes, through his attorneys, is seeking a jury trial in a lawsuit that has asserted eight causes of action against Monsanto.

"Monsanto failed to keep proper safe zones between fields and failed to utilize other measures such as tarps to prevent the genetically modified wheat from escaping the test areas and cross-pollinating and thereby contaminating fields that were supposed to only contain non-genetically modified wheat," the lawsuit alleges.

However, Monsanto noted the wheat discovery is limited to just one farm since it terminated its testing program years ago. The genetically-modified wheat is resistant to the herbicide, glyphosate.

"There is considerable reason to believe that the presence of glyphosate tolerance in wheat, if determined to be valid, is very limited," the company said. "Given the care undertaken no legal liability exists and the company will present a vigorous defense."

Subscribe and receive the latest insights on the health and nutrition industry.
Join 37,000+ members. Yes, it's completely free.

You May Also Like