29 October 1999

GM compensation

FARMERS whose livelihoods have been affected by genetically modified crops could qualify for part of a multi-million £ payment, if new legal action succeeds.

American and British lawyers met in London this week to plan actions demanding damages estimated at hundreds of millions of $ from companies involved in the production of genetically modified seeds and food crops.

Lawyers will argue that their clients, from the US, the EU, Central America and India, have suffered from the introduction of GM materials. Targets are likely to include Monsanto, Du Pont, Astra-Zeneca, Novartis and Agr-Evo.

Greenpeace GM campaign director Sarah Burton, who attended the meeting, said farmers who grew GM crops they could not sell or whose conventional crops were affected by GM crops would be eligible.

"Farmers are suffering because of GM crops, there is no question of that, and they are entitled to compensation for their suffering."

The first of the actions will be launched in the US next month. They will allege anti-competitive behaviour, collusion, and claim the companies rushed the introduction of GM foods without first establishing safety. &#42