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Monsanto to pull the plug on GM lobbying and activities in Europe

5 comments

By Nathan Gray+

03-Jun-2013

Monsanto has said it will scrap lobbying in most of the EU in order to focus on area where there is 'wider acceptence' of its GM crop technology.
Monsanto has said it will scrap lobbying in most of the EU in order to focus on area where there is 'wider acceptence' of its GM crop technology.

Monsanto plans to halt lobbying activity for its genetically modified (GM) crop varieties in Europe, the agriculture and biotechnology giant has confirmed.

US-based biotechnology company Monsanto will drop lobbying activities in Europe, and does not plan any new applications for the approval of genetically modified seeds in the EU, a spokesperson has said.

The moves comes on the back of low demand from farmers and 'stiff opposition' from the general public, according to the German spokeswoman Ursula Luettmer-Ouazane.

"As long as there's not enough demand from farmers for these products and the public at large doesn't accept the technology, it makes no sense to fight against windmills," she confirmed.

Indeed, Monsanto officials added that the GM giant will only focus on expansion and market penetration of its GM products in areas that provide broad support - meaning that activities will continue in Portugal, Spain, and Eastern Europe where its MON810 maize is more widely grown and accepted.

Monsanto's confirmation comes almost 18 months after an announcement that German chemical and biotech firm BASF would be pulling out of the European market due to a lack of consumer and industry acceptance. Other companies including Bayer AG's CropScience unit and Syngenta have also largely moved out of the European market.

In the firing line?

Monsanto is also currently under growing pressure in the USA and Asia, after the discovery of a non-approved, experimental wheat strain was found growing in Oregon.

The finding of the experimental wheat, which the company said it finished trials of several years previously, has led to uncertainty in the wheat export market with Japan imposing an outright ban , while a number of other markets - including the EU -  said to be closely monitoring and assessing the situation. 

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5 comments (Comments are now closed)

Quality over quantity every time thanks

How many stories do we have to read before we learn that the dangers of not being able to control all the side-effects, and the dangers of a few men / companies controlling the world's food supply, outweighs the so-called benefits of letting the global population spiral out of control. Natural is best.

The world has fed itself for thousands of years - and most of the evidence points to the fact that - natural disasters and plagues aside - the general population was, in fact, healthier, living off local or home-grown produce that had naturally adapted to its environment over thousands of years - than living off modern-day, irradiated, GM, pesticide-laden pseudo-food.

Personally, I would rather have one small carrot that is misshapen but nourishes me, than one that looks perfect - but is tasteless and does strange things to rats in laboratories.

And of course, there are untold other benefits of relying on organic local produce - it keeps communities strong and vibrant, keeps livelihoods meaningful and people in work, etc etc. I could go on and on...

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Posted by carmenta
18 June 2013 | 18h13

Absence of Evidence is Not Evidence of Absence

Seems to me like Monsanto is doing this to themselves.

Where is the solid evidence that GM crops are safe? Why do scientists and journalists with honest concerns repeatedly allege that they are legally harassed and fear/lose their jobs when they ask sincere GM food safety questions?

Scientific silence is not scientific evidence, especially when it is alleged that the silence is enforced. Let's ask the real questions and get real answers, by independent scientists. Until then, the "silence" is deafening.

In the meantime, Monsanto et al could help themselves immensely by *encouraging* warts-and-all, real, independent, peer-reviewed scientific studies, some positive and some negative, which will eventually paint a complete picture. Don't talk transparency, be transparent. If GM really is safe, the truth will set them free.

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Posted by Kevin Crenshaw
12 June 2013 | 05h36

Monsanto and the scientific community

To same exten I agree with Richard, but had Monsanto and the scientific community behaved differently granting attention to the legitimate concerns of the civil society, now Europe would be much less hysteric with regard to GM. Corporations could not be altruist, but public research and regulation could have played a more sound as well...

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Posted by Stefano
08 June 2013 | 16h29

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