Farmers in New York state would be better protected against lawsuits from biotech companies if genetically modified crops inadvertently grow on their fields under a bill passed by the state's Assembly.
Seed producers have sued farmers around the country for allegedly growing their bioengineered crops without buying the seed. Farmers often argue the seeds arrived by wind or other natural means.
Assemblyman Tom Abinanti said Wednesday that his legislation will make it easier for New York farmers to defend themselves against frivolous lawsuits. He says that in the case of organic farmers, genetically modified seeds are seen as a contaminant.
The bill passed the Assembly on Monday. Similar legislation is pending in the state Senate.
Separate legislation would require the labeling of food products that contain genetically modified ingredients.