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6-Regulation: US farmers reach $110 million StarLink settlement



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                                  PART I
-------------------------------- GENET-news --------------------------------

TITLE:  US farmers reach $110 million StarLink settlement
SOURCE: Reuters, by K.T. Arasu
DATE:   Feb 10, 2003

------------------ archive: http://www.gene.ch/genet.html ------------------


US farmers reach $110 million StarLink settlement

CHICAGO - A group of U.S. farmers reached a $110 million settlement in a
class-action lawsuit against two companies that engineered and marketed
unapproved genetically modified StarLink corn that slipped into the U.S.
food chain more than two years ago, lawyers said.

StarLink Logistics and Advanta USA agreed to pay $110 million plus
interest to farmers whose crops were tainted with StarLink corn, or who
suffered from a drop in corn prices due to the controversy over gene-
spliced StarLink corn.

Melvyn Weiss of the law firm Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach LLP
said the preliminary settlement was approved on Wednesday by Judge James
Moran of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
It still needs final approval.

A source familiar with the case said a hearing date for final approval
has been set for April 7. "It's basically to see if anyone objects to the
settlement," he said, adding that non-StarLink farmers whose incomes were
affected could file a claim for a portion of the settlement.

"This agreement represents an outstanding result in a difficult and hard-
fought litigation," said Weiss, who represents the farmers. He declined
to elaborate.

StarLink corn is not approved for human consumption for fear it could
cause allergic reactions. Japan, the top U.S. corn importer, bans
StarLink corn for animal feed as well.

StarLink corn - spliced with a gene that is deadly to the corn borer pest
that causes millions of dollars' worth of damage to the U.S. corn crop -
was planted in less than 10,000 acres when introduced in the United
States in 1998.

StarLink plantings grew to 315,000 acres in 2000 but still constituted
less than 1 percent of total U.S. corn seedings. Plantings of StarLink
were halted in the 2001 season.

Traces of StarLink corn were detected in taco shells in September 2000,
leading to a series of recalls of corn-based products from grocery
shelves across the country.

StarLink corn was also discovered in food products in Japan, spurring a
sharp decline in the country's purchase of American corn supplies. The
move triggered steep falls in the prices of U.S. corn.

The plaintiffs in the StarLink case claimed they had suffered financially
from a drop in corn prices due to StarLink's detection in food products
and the subsequent fall in exports, especially to Japan.

Some had also claimed that their non-StarLink corn crops were tainted by
the variety grown in neighboring fields.

A spokeswoman for StarLink Logistics confirmed the deal. "We are pleased
to have reached this agreement, which puts much of the liability issues
behind us."

A spokesman for Advanta USA, which marketed StarLink seeds to farmers,
could not be reached for comment.

Japanese demand for U.S. corn has returned to near normal pace since
2000, although there was a fresh shudder in December 2002 when traces of
StarLink corn were detected in a cargo of supplies shipped to Japan from
the United States.

Data from the U.S. Agriculture Department showed that corn imports from
Japan remained strong in January despite the detection of StarLink in
about 1,200 tonnes in December.


                                  PART II
-------------------------------- GENET-news --------------------------------

TITLE:  Farmers in $110 mln StarLink deal - lawyers
SOURCE: Reuters
DATE:   Feb 10, 2003

------------------ archive: http://www.gene.ch/genet.html ------------------


Farmers in $110 mln StarLink deal - lawyers

CHICAGO - A group of farmers reached a $110 million settlement in a
class-action lawsuit against StarLink Logistics Inc. and Advanta USA Inc.
over unapproved genetically modified StarLink corn that slipped into the
food chain in September 2000, lawyers for the farmers said. Melvyn Weiss
of the law firm Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach LLP said the
plaintiffs were farmers who did not grow the StarLink variety. The
farmers claimed they had suffered financially from a drop in corn prices
due to StarLink's detection in food products and the subsequent decline
in exports. The Starlink corn is not approved for human consumption for
fear it could trigger allergic reactions. The law firm said Judge James
Moram of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on
Wednesday gave preliminarily approval to the settlement, which is subject
to further court review before becoming final