Nearly 1,500 rice farmers are suing the German conglomerate Bayer Cropscience and affiliated companies over a genetically engineered strain of rice.
The lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court in Little Rock claims the farmers' crops were corrupted by the rice that was produced by Bayer.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced in August 2006 that traces of an unapproved genetically engineered rice had been found in U.S. supplies of long-grain rice. The lawsuit says Bayer and Riceland Foods Inc. confirmed the traces in early 2006 but didn't tell farmers, the government or the public until July or August.
A dollar amount being sought in damages is not given in the complaint.
A spokesman for Bayer said he had not seen the lawsuit and couldn't comment.