On December 4, a federal court ruled Bayer CropScience legally responsible for contaminating the rice in five states with genetically modified strains not approved for human consumption by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Two farmers were awarded $2 million in compensatory damages in the trial.
These farmers, among another 3,000 rice producers, experienced a significant drop in exports in the summer of 2006 as Japan, Canada, Russia, Taiwan, Iraq and the Philippines enacted harsh restrictions on U.S. rice after the USDA announced the GM infiltration in Missouri, Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas and Mississippi.
Campaigners are delighted that GM producers are finally being held responsible for the problems that they’ve caused; other rice producers and distributor Riviana foods will be up before Judge Catherine D. Perry in January as farmers seek damages. If the rate of $2 million for the first two cases continues, it will definitelybe a warning to GM companies to be more careful with genetically modified genes.
Meanwhile a study published in the International Journal of Biological Sciences demonstrates the toxicity of three genetically modified corn varieties from the American seed company Monsanto.
Gilles-Eric Séralini, an expert member of the Commission for Biotechnology Reevaluation, created by the EU in 2008, says that both the kidneys and liver, the organs that react frist the chmical poisining, had been affected b y all three genetiically modified varieties.
The Caen and Rouen Universityadn Criggen researchers based their analyses on the data supplied origianlly by Monsanto to health authorities, but they draw different conclusions after new statistical calculations. According to Professor Séralini, the health authorities based their approval on a reading of the conclusions Monsanto has presented and not on conclusions drawn from the totality of the data. The researchers were able to obtain complete documentation following a legal decision. Monsanto's tests, effected over 90 days, were obviously not of sufficient duration to be able to say whetherthe GM crops caused chronic illnesses are caused. The EU researchers based thier conculsions on tests carried out over a period of two years.
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First Published in December 2009