Nov 12 Monsanto Co said on Wednesday it
reached a settlement with U.S. wheat farmers who sued the seed
company over market disruption after unapproved genetically
engineered wheat was discovered growing without oversight in
Monsanto's "Roundup Ready" wheat, which was never approved
by U.S. regulators and which the company said it stopped testing
a decade ago, was found growing in an Oregon farmer's field in
2013. The company had said all the experimental grain was
destroyed or stored away.
South Korea and Japan temporarily halted purchases of U.S.
wheat after the announcement on fears the unapproved wheat,
engineered to withstand Roundup herbicide, might have
contaminated U.S. wheat supplies.
Monsanto did not admit liability, but agreed to pay $250,000
to wheat growers' associations, including $100,000 to the
National Wheat Foundation, and $50,000 each to the Washington
Association of Wheat Growers, the Oregon Wheat Growers' League
and the Idaho Grain Producers' Association.
It will also pay $2.125 million into a settlement fund for
farmers in Washington, Oregon and Idaho who sold soft white
wheat between May 30, 2013, and Nov. 30, 2013.
Monsanto will reimburse plaintiffs' counsel for a portion of
their out-of-pocket costs and fees associated with the
At least three class action lawsuits will be dismissed as
part of the settlement, but the company said it does not resolve
pending claims by growers of wheat other than the soft white
Monsanto still faces scrutiny over its biotech wheat after
the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health
Inspection Service said in September there had been a second
discovery of unapproved Monsanto wheat. That wheat was found
growing at a Montana State University research facility in
Huntley, Montana, where field trials were conducted between 2000
There is no commercially approved genetically modified
wheat, although Monsanto and several other companies are trying
to develop biotech varieties of the grain.
(Reporting By Carey Gillam. Editing by Andre Grenon)