Cargill Inc. sued Syngenta Seeds Inc. on Friday in an unusual legal battle over genetically modified food that both companies support.
The fight comes after China refused to accept ships Cargill loaded that were filled with corn grown from genetically modified Syngenta seed.
Despite being one of the world’s most vocal and powerful backers of genetically modified seeds, Cargill accused Syngenta Seeds of shipping the corn without first ensuring that Chinese officials would allow it into their country. Both Cargill and Syngenta Seeds are based in Minnetonka, Minnesota.
“I want to be clear about this,” Dave Baudler, president of Cargill AgHorizons U.S., said in a statement released by the company. “Cargill is a supporter of innovation and the development of new GMO [genetically modified] seed products. But we take exception to Syngenta’s actions in launching the sale of new products … before obtaining import approval in key export markets for U.S. crops.”
Syngenta countered with a statement that called Cargill’s suit “without merit.”
University of Minnesota agricultural economist Bill Lazarus believes genetically modified food may be necessary to feed the world’s population. But with countries in Europe already restricting genetic modifications and China growing increasingly picky, Lazarus said the issues raised by Syngenta’s sales and Cargill’s suit may become more common.
These days, China has a large surplus of rice and corn, he said. “They’re probably looking for excuses to not import it now.”
Read the full, original story here: Cargill sues Syngenta seed over China shipments