Another Suit Filed Against Bayer by Ark. Farmers

February 7, 2007

The company that developed a genetically altered strain of rice intended to resist a herbicide has been sued again by Arkansas rice farmers claiming negligence and seeking compensation.

The genetically altered rice was never approved for human consumption, but it was detected in trace amounts in the nation’s crop last year and resulted in a ban on imports of U.S.-grown rice in several countries.

The suit filed Feb. 2 in federal court by Michael B. Capps and Holla L. Capps of Prairie County, which seeks class-action status, is similar to suits filed previously in Arkansas and several other states.

In December, a federal panel consolidated more than a dozen lawsuits involving genetically contaminated rice, creating a single legal action that is one of the largest of its kind. It is unclear how the newest suit would fit into the suit-consolidation scheme.

The suit names Bayer CropScience AG, a subsidiary of Bayer AG, and Aventis CropScience USA Inc., also a Bayer subsidiary, as defendants. Bayer developed the strain of rice known as LLRICE 601, engineered to resist Bayer’s “Liberty” herbicide.

The suit claims the companies were negligent during field-testing of LLRICE 601 in not taking precautions to “prevent cross-pollination with non-genetically engineered rice.”

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