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RMFU joins lawsuit against Aventis

DENVER—Rocky Mountain Farmers Union (RMFU), through National Farmers Union, has signed on to a class action lawsuit against Aventis Crop Science USA Holding, Inc., charging that corn producers have been adversely affected by the company’s action in regard to genetically modified StarLink corn.

StarLink corn, a line of genetically modified corn that has not been approved for human consumption, was this past year co-mingled with conventional corn. The discovery caused concern among buyers of all U.S. corn, including foreign buyers. The suit charges that the scandal resulted in a price slump throughout the entire U.S. corn market.

“Aventis’ lack of caution in following Environmental Protection Agency requirements for its genetically modified StarLink corn, caused a loss in export and domestic markets for all U.S. corn,” said RMFU President Dave Carter. “Not only have producers suffered a drop in prices during the 2000 crop year, it may be difficult to regain confidence in the U. S. corn supply for future years, particularly among foreign buyers.”

RMFU is requesting that producers who planted StarLink corn or those who planted conventional corn and suffered either from cross pollination or a drop in corn prices due to the StarLink scandal to contact the RMFU office at 800-373-7638. RMFU also is asking that grain elevators that have had problems keeping StarLink and conventional corn segregated contact the RMFU office.

RMFU holds that the lack of appropriate regulatory standards governing the growing and marketing of StarLink corn as well as Aventis’ failure to provide adequate information and procedures on proper segregation procedures is responsible for producers’ losses.

“Lack of control over this product has resulted in economic losses for farmers, storage facilities, and processors of corn and has compromised worldwide confidence in the health and safety of U.S. agricultural products,” said Leland Swenson, NFU president.

The NFU board of directors recently wrote the EPA, urging the agency to reject a proposal to allow StarLink corn to be approved for human consumption on the grounds that it would be damage control aimed at covering up the StarLink scandal.