Ethanol Blog
Cheryl Anderson DTN Staff Reporter

Thursday 08/21/14

Court Supports Elevator in Biotech Clash

A federal appeals court has ruled that Syngenta cannot force the Bunge elevator company to accept its Agrisure Viptera biotech corn, according to an article by Capital Press (…).

Bunge told farmers it would not accept corn with the Viptera trait because it had not been accepted in some export destinations, mainly China. In response, Syngenta filed a lawsuit claiming Bunge violated a century-old law, the U.S. Warehouse Act of 1916, requiring elevators to treat depositors fairly. Syngenta also claimed Bunge's rejection of Viptera corn hurt the company's reputation and market share.

The court disagreed and ruled in favor of Bunge, stating that Syngenta lacked a "cause of action" to bring a case against Bunge in court.

The ruling will likely prevent other biotech seed companies from trying to force elevators to accept corn with biotech traits. Critics of biotechnology view the case as an example of how biotech crops can affect exports markets. Biotech proponents maintain the case emphasizes the need for a single method of approval of biotech crops to all importing countries, rather than approval being required by each country.

This is just the latest in a many battles over the genetically-modified corn, more commonly known as MIR 162. In recent months, the U.S. ethanol industry has engaged in many months of negotiations with China, which has been dragging its feet accepting the trait, even though it has been accepted as safe in the U.S. and most major export markets for some time. China's most recent move was an announcement that all shipments of DDGS to its ports must be accompanied by an official certification that it does not contain the MIR 162 trait. Since such certification does not exist and testing for the trait is somewhat unreliable, the mandate virtually brought DDGS exports to China to a stop. However, DTN has learned that China is still accepting some shipments from the U.S. from contracts still on the books.

Cheryl Anderson can be reached at


Posted at 12:09PM CDT 08/21/14 by Cheryl Anderson
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