Biotechnology: Monsanto drops new European GM food plans

18 July 2013 – Presseurop Die Welt

United States biotech giant Monsanto is ending all but one project to grow GM foods in Europe, reports German daily Die Welt.

The firm announced on July 17 that it is withdrawing all permits requested to the European Commission to grow genetically modified corn, soy and sugar beets because it does not see "a commercial outlook" for these products, the paper says. Only a request to grow genetically modified corn of the MON810 type will be renewed.

For the moment, this type of corn is the only genetically modified organism commercially cultivated in Europe, Die Welt, says. Monsanto now wants to focus on selling traditional seeds in the EU. The decision, says *Die Welt, "reflects the disappointment of many biotech firms faced with the EU's scepticism of GM foods.

The EU often makes decisions with several years delay. While corn of the MON810 type is admitted into the EU, several member states including France, Germany and Italy have banned it at the national level, following citizen initiatives. Already last year, German chemical firm BASF threw in the towel and relocated its biotechnology centre to the United States because genetic engineering is so strongly contested in Europe.

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