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.