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March 11, 2010
12:40 PM

CONTACT: Food and Water Europe

Eve Mitchell, Food and Water Europe, The Black Isle, Scotland +44 (0)1381 610 740
Gabriella Zanzanaini, Food and Water Europe, Brussels, +3248840966

Food and Water Europe Welcomes US Court Ruling: Bayer 'Intentionally' Contaminated US Rice

Statement of Food & Water Europe Executive Director Wenonah Hauter

BRUSSELS - March 11 - "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. 

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