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Lawyers May Combine GMO Rice Lawsuits

Thirteen separate lawsuits against Bayer CropScience AG over unauthorized GMO rice incident may form one collective case.

Attorneys told federal judges Thursday in St. Louis that 13 lawsuits over the accidental mixing of genetically modified rice with other rice should be combined into one legal action against Bayer CropScience AG.

European Union officials discovered Bayer's Liberty Link rice, a genetically engineered strain unauthorized in the EU, in rice shipments from the U.S. this summer, leading the EU to set up new tests on all U.S. rice imports. Japan also suspended imports of U.S. long-grain rice. Rice prices dropped after those two big markets' responses.

Farmers in Louisiana, Arkansas and Missouri say that Bayer's mistake damaged the rice market. They are asking Bayer to cover their lost revenue and clean up rice bins and farms that may have been contaminated with the Liberty Link strain.

Although the lawyers agree that the cases should be combined, they have not yet settled on a host state for the proceedings.

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