For Immediate Release
Food and Water Europe Welcomes US Court Ruling: Bayer 'Intentionally' Contaminated US Rice
Statement of Food & Water Europe Executive Director Wenonah Hauter
BRUSSELS - "We welcome the Woodruff
County, Arkansas court finding that German corporation Bayer CropScience
‘intentionally' contaminated US rice supplies. We applaud the decision
requiring the company to pay Lennie Joe Kyle, the farmer who suffered losses
when his rice was contaminated with Bayer's genetically modified (GM) product,
a total of US$1.3 million. This amount includes the first punitive damages for
loss of future earnings ever awarded against Bayer."
"The case is one of a raft of
hundreds of cases stemming from the 2006 contamination of US rice supplies with
Bayer's experimental GM LL601 rice - an incident which continues to undermine US exports years later.
The company has already been ordered by federal courts to pay four other
farmers a total of US$3.5 million."
"While we are pleased to see the courts step in to protect farmers
and consumers when regulatory bodies fail, it is a pity that farmers have to go
to these lengths to get satisfaction for their losses. As Mr. Kyle said, ‘It's
a lot to do with the way the big companies act. They think the farmer is just
going to tuck his tail and take it, but we're not going to anymore.'
"GM is clearly an unpredictable
technology that has proved both difficult to contain and damaging when it
escapes. It is simply not necessary to take these chances with the safety of
our food supply or the viability of our farms. It is important to see Bayer
being held accountable for the damage they have done. Hopefully the court
decision will act as a warning to other GM companies."
Food & Water Europe is a program of Food & Water Watch,
Inc., a non-profit consumer NGO based in Washington, DC, working to ensure
clean water and safe food in Europe and around the world. We challenge the
corporate control and abuse of our food and water resources by empowering
people to take action and transforming the public consciousness about what we
eat and drink.
For more information, visit http://www.