ADM Refuses Syngenta Genetically Modified Corn Pending Approvals

Feb 22, 2014 12:01 am ET

Feb. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Archer-Daniels-Midland Co., the world’s largest corn processor, won’t accept a genetically modified version of the crop developed by Syngenta AG until its use has been approved by China and other major importers.

The restriction applies to grain containing the Agrisure Duracade genetic trait, which helps control rootworm. Decatur, Illinois-based ADM may test deliveries and said it’s advising farmers to check the seeds they will plant this spring.

“Wide-scale planting of traits that aren’t approved by key importing countries would diminish the competitiveness of American grain and feed exports,” Jackie Anderson, an ADM spokeswoman, said in an e-mailed statement yesterdaty.

ADM is among crop traders and processors caught in the middle of a dispute over the use and importation of modified crops. China, the world’s second-largest corn consumer, hasn’t given a safety certificate for Agrisure Viptera, another type of corn developed by Syngenta and it started halting shipments in November. Chinese corn imports slumped 21 percent in January compared with the prior month.

Staci Monson, a spokeswoman for Syngenta in the U.S., didn’t respond to a voicemail seeking comment. The Basel, Switzerland-based company said Feb. 5 it won’t halt sales of Duracade or Viptera, which helps control a range of pests. On Feb. 20 it announced an agreement with Gavilon Grain LLC, a unit of Japan’s Marubeni Corp., to help farmers sell Duracade corn.

Advance Notice

ADM said yesterday it’s reserving the right to test deliveries and decline those that contain Duracade. It’s also asking producers and suppliers to provide advance notification if they’re intending to deliver products with Agrisure Viptera to the company’s U.S. interior elevators.

ADM is asking farmers to confirm that the seeds they intend to plant this spring are approved for all major export markets, including China. If not, ADM is encouraging them to check with their sales representative if their order can be exchanged for seeds that are approved for global use, Anderson said.

--Editors: Simon Casey, Steven Frank