Bayer verdict shows why GM trials must be stopped
$2 million US dollar verdict against Bayer confirms company's liability for an uncontrollable technology
Greenpeace International, Dec 7 2009
Greenpeace welcomes the United States federal jury ruling on 4 December 2009 that Bayer CropScience LP must pay $2 million US dollars to two Missouri farmers after their rice crop was contaminated with an experimental variety of rice that the company was testing in 2006.
This verdict confirms that the responsibility for the consequences of GE (genetic engineering) contamination rests with the company that releases GE crops.
Bayer has admitted it has been unable to control the spread of its genetically-engineered organisms despite 'the best practices [to stop contamination]'(1). It shows that all outdoors field trials or commercial growing of GE crops must be stopped before our crops are irreversibly contaminated.
A report prepared for Greenpeace International concluded that the total costs incurred throughout the world as a result of the contamination are estimated to range from $741 million to $1.285 billion US dollars.(2) The verdict indicates that Bayer is liable for what could turn out to be a large proportion of these costs, as it awards damages in the first two of more than 1,000 currently pending lawsuits. The decision must be used to support all claims for losses incurred by other US farmers whose crops have suffered from GE contamination.
(1) Bayers Defense lawyer, Mark Ferguson as reported in Harris, A. 2009. Bayer Blamed at Trial for Crops 'Contaminated' by Modified Rice. Bloomberg News 4th November 2009, available at: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aT1kD1GOt0N0
(2) E.N. Blue (2007) Risky Business. Economic and regulatory impacts from the unintended release of genetically engineered rice varieties into the rice merchandising system of the US. Report prepared for Greenpeace International, available online at http://www.greenpeace.org/raw/content/international/press/reports/risky-business.pdf.
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