Monsanto backing away from GMO crops in Europe

Fri May 31, 2013 1:16pm EDT

May 31 (Reuters) - Monsanto Co is not pushing for expansion of genetically modified crops in most of Europe as opposition to its biotech seeds in many countries remains high, company officials said on Friday.

European officials for the St. Louis, Missouri-based Monsanto told the German daily "Taz" that they were no longer doing any lobby work for cultivation in Europe and not seeking any new approvals for genetically modified plants.

"We've come to the conclusion that this has no broad acceptance at the moment," Monsanto Germany spokeswoman, Ursula Lüttmer-Ouazane, told Taz.

Monsanto corporate spokesman Thomas Helscher said on Friday that the company is making it clear that it will only pursue market penetration of biotech crops in areas that provide broad support.

"We're going to sell the GM seeds only where they enjoy broad farmer support, broad political support and a functioning regulatory system," Helscher told Reuters. "As far as we're convinced this only applies to a few countries in Europe today, primarily Spain and Portugal."

The company has been focusing lately on gaining market share in the conventional corn market in Ukraine, and Monsanto Vice President Jesus Madrazo, who oversees international corporate affairs, said Eastern Europe and South America are key growth areas for the company now.

Unlike Europe, South America has largely been welcoming of Monsanto's crop biotechnology, but the company is also facing hurdles there as it is awaiting approvals by China, which is a large buyer of soybeans from Brazil.

Monsanto's wants to launch its new bioengineered, worm-resistant soybean seed called Intacta RR2 Pro for planting in Brazil next season, but a successful launch depends on approval from China, according to Monsanto officials.

Monsanto is under fire this week after an experimental biotech wheat that the company said it shelved several years ago was found growing in an Oregon farm field. The discovery, announced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Wednesday, has roiled exports markets for U.S. wheat as Asian buyers have backed away from U.S. wheat purchases.

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (3)
jenagles wrote:
Sadly Monsanto has purchased too many American politicians to do the same here in America – Monsanto owns so much of our government we are not even entitled to KNOW if our products contain GMO’s. Monsanto says it wants to feed the world – but the world does not want Monsanto’s seeds – we are forced to either grow our own food here in America or be subject lab rats to Monsanto’s whims. I try ALWAYS to buy American but in the case of produce and other goods, I may have to change my position. Pretty soon other countries will be donating healthy whole foods to help feed American children instead of the other way around.

May 31, 2013 2:05pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
MaxFubar wrote:
Europe has turned this poison away, South America is even more corrupt than our politicians that sold out our nation and its citizens to line their pockets with gold, while having us die of cancer, MS, and more caused by this poison disguised as food.

May 31, 2013 2:38pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
JCee wrote:
All that means is they haven’t paid off enough officials. Give it time.

May 31, 2013 3:29pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.