Monsanto settles 7 lawsuits after 2013 GMO-wheat scare

Reuters/Benoit Tessier
Agrochemical giant Monsanto has settled class action lawsuits with farmers in seven states over genetically modified wheat incident in 2013. Without any admission of liability the company will pay some $350,000 in donations to agricultural schools.

The agricultural biotechnology corporation announced donations of $50,000 to agricultural schools in Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi. The St. Louis based company also promised to reimburse a portion of the costs associated with the case. Monsanto saidit can’t disclose how much that will cost.

The settlement agreement with wheat farmers across the US stems from a number of lawsuits related to the May 2013 discovery of genetically-modified wheat on a farm in Eastern Oregon that resulted in temporary limits on certain exports of soft white wheat. Japan and South Korea temporarily suspended some wheat orders, while the EU called for tougher testing from the US.

“This agreement puts that money to work in research and development efforts for the wheat industry,” said Kyle McClain, Monsanto chief litigation counsel. “Resolution in this manner is reasonable and in the best interest of all of the parties.”

View image |

The settlement puts to rest seven court cases associated with the company's GMO practices, but it will “not resolve claims that remain pending by wheat growers in Arkansas who also filed suit,” the company said.

In November, Monsanto has already agreed to settle about $2.4 million worth of damages in other lawsuits related to the Oregon scandal. The history of settlements seems like a drop in the ocean for a company that made $2.74 billion last year that with sales of $15.86 billion.

READ MORE: Monsanto to pay $2.4mn to farmers over 2013 GMO-wheat scare

The USDA has yet to approve any GMO strain of wheat to be grown in the US, but Monsanto field tested a genetically engineered variety from 1998 through 2005 before withdrawing their application from the agency’s regulatory approval process.

Roundup Ready, as the wheat strain is amicably known, was supposed to be either destroyed or stored 10 years ago when it was outlawed. The miracle strain was resistant to Monsanto’s Roundup pesticide, and was one of a number in a whole range of Roundup Ready products.