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7-Business: StarLink corn settlement also to include interest

-------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  StarLink Corn Settlement Also To Include Interest
SOURCE: Associated Press, by Kevin O'Hanlon / MidWest News, USA
DATE:   24 Aug 2004 

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StarLink Corn Settlement Also To Include Interest

LINCOLN, Neb. -- Farmers nationwide will be paid interest on the $110
million settlement with makers and distributors of genetically altered
corn that was mistakenly introduced into the food supply.

Attorney General Jon Bruning's office helped clarify that the settlement
included 4 percent interest after farmers expressed concern about delays
in getting their money. The interest began accruing on Sept. 24, 2002,
Bruning said.

Payments from the settlement could begin soon after a court hearing on
Sept. 2, Bruning said.

The settlement could mean up to $2 per acre for farmers who did not grow
StarLink corn but suffered from a consumer backlash when it was revealed
that it had gotten into the food supply.

The StarLink corn was engineered with a bacterium's gene that's deadly to
the corn borer pest.

StarLink seed had been approved in 1998 by the Environmental Protection
Agency for use in animal feed. But it had not been approved for human
consumption because of unresolved questions about whether a protein it
contains can cause allergic reactions.

Some Starlink was mixed with other varieties of corn in 1999 and 2000.

Some was mistakenly mixed with corn intended for food or export, forcing
several food companies to recall products and causing a worldwide drop in
corn prices.

Several farmers sued StarLink creator Aventis SA, Starlink maker StarLink
Logistics Inc. and Avanta USA, which owns StarLink distributor Garst Seed Co.

The lawsuit was elevated to class-action status, which means every farmer
who did not grow StarLink was eligible for a share of the settlement --
an estimated $70 million after expenses are paid.

In 2001, Aventis agreed to compensate farmers and grain elevators across
the country. That agreement, between Aventis, Nebraska and 16 other
states, called for the company to pay farmers up to 25 cents per bushel
for tainted corn and reimburse them for other losses.

Some $130 million has been paid so far.

A third settlement called for $9 million to be paid to consumers who said
they suffered allergic reactions from eating food products that contained
the genetically modified corn.


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