Barnett: Claims Process Available for StarLink Corn Producers
(Pierre) – Attorney General Mark Barnett said today that Aventis CropScience – the maker of StarLink genetically modified corn that has gotten into the grain and food distribution systems – has posted detailed claims procedures on the Internet for farmers and elevators who may suffer losses as a result of price discounting of their StarLink or StarLink-commingled corn. The web site is located at www.cropscience.aventis.com.
"This is an important step. It indicates Aventis is willing to accept responsibility for its decision to market StarLink corn," Barnett said. "We encourage farmers and elevators to consult the Aventis web pages and to gather necessary information for claims if they haven’t done so already."
Aventis posted a claims payment procedure on December 1 for losses incurred by grain elevators. On December 21, Aventis posted a claims payment procedure for losses incurred by StarLink growers and "buffer" growers. On January 12, 2001, Aventis posted a claims procedure for holders of corn that somehow was contaminated with StarLink, which should provide some relief to neighbors of those who planted StarLink.
Aventis’ web site postings are the culmination of several months of discussions between Aventis and a group of several State Attorneys General, including Barnett’s office. On November 14, sixteen Attorneys General wrote to Aventis to confirm in writing assurances that Aventis had made concerning its willingness to pay certain losses incurred by growers and elevators due to StarLink corn. The Attorneys general also urged Aventis to establish detailed claims-handling procedures, to post the procedures on its web site, and to pay claims as quickly as possible. As a result, comprehensive claims forms and instructions have now been posted on the site.
The agreed upon claims process does not preclude producers from taking their own legal action.