Originally published April 24 2015
Monsanto agrees to pay out measly $350K after harming farmers with unapproved GM wheat
by Amy Goodrich
(NaturalNews) Monsanto, a corporation known for its genetically modified (GM) seeds, Roundup Ready herbicide and Agent Orange, always seems to be in the run to settle a lawsuit of some kind to keep their business running.
Just recently, we had the Monsanto-Maui case were Maui voted to ban GM crops until they are proven to be safe for human and animal consumption. Monsanto went to court to fight their decision and won the case. Some sources believe a Monsanto-biased judge was involved. Luckily, Hawaiian officials were able to crush the ruling and keep the modified crops from their lands.
Last week, another major Monsanto case hit the news. Apparently, Monsanto has promised to settle seven lawsuits with farmers, over the discovery of unapproved, experimental, genetically modified wheat growing on a farm in eastern Oregon, by paying out $350,000.
The modified plants were discovered in May 2013 after they were sprayed with Monsanto's Roundup (glyphosate) herbicide and mysteriously survived.
The discovery of the GM crop resulted in certain countries, like Japan and South Korea, suspending or canceling their orders, and the European Union called for stricter testing of all wheat that comes from the United States.
In connection with the 2013 events, wheat farmers in eight states have sued agrochemical giant Monsanto over the unapproved appearance of genetically modified plants growing on that farm.
On Wednesday, Monsanto announced, without admitting guilt, that it would settle seven of these lawsuits by donating $50,000 to agricultural schools at land-grant colleges in Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi.
One class action lawsuit will remain active. This case involves farmers from Arkansas, and Monsanto has said it hopes to resolve that litigation in the near future.
Monsanto said the donated $350,000 will be used to further the interests of wheat farmers and the wheat industry.
"Rather than paying the costs of protracted litigation, this agreement puts that money to work in research and development efforts for the wheat industry," Kyle McClain, Monsanto chief litigation counsel, said in a prepared statement. "Resolution in this manner is reasonable and in the best interest of all of the parties."
Monsanto also said it would cover part of the costs of the plaintiffs and lawyers associated with the case. But how much that cost will be is uncertain.
This agreement, however, has no money for the Oregon State University, were the modified wheat was found and most testing was done to confirm contamination with Roundup Ready plants.
While a total of $350,000 may seem like a lot of money to us, for a major corporate entity, like Monsanto, it is peanuts. Especially if you know that they made a profit of $2.74 billion last year.
These seven lawsuits are actually not the first lawsuits regarding the 2013 incident Monsanto that agreed to settle. In November 2014, they paid $2.4 million to a special fund that paid for the losses of farmers who sold soft white wheat in Washington, Oregon and Idaho.
At the moment, no genetically modified wheat is approved for commercial growing in the United States. Monsanto and the USDA claim that they have absolutely no idea how the genetic modified seeds ended up in the field. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) believes the genetic modified wheat in Oregon was an isolated incident and has stated that there is no evidence of that wheat ending up in our food chain.
"Monsanto is committed to bringing a broad range of solutions to help nourish our growing world" is what we all can read on their website. But whether their concern actually is nourishing the growing world is of course the big question.
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