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Monsanto Declares Defeat In European Market

Monsanto Declares Defeat In European Market
Wheat Fields via Shutterstock

Despite the recent bumper crop of GMO labeling legislation in the U.S., Monsanto still has a strong grip on the country–just look at the so-called Monsanto Protection Act, which lets farmers plant GMO crops before the Department of Agriculture has declared them safe. But it’s like a parallel universe over in Europe, where Monsanto announced last week that it is dramatically curbing its activities.

CBC News reports that Monsanto is quitting its European government lobbying efforts, ending field trials of its GMO seeds in most of Western Europe, and planning to stop pursuing licenses of new GMO plants. From the article:

“We have come to understand that, at the moment, it doesn’t have broad acceptance,” Ursula Luettmer-Ouazane, Monsanto’s spokesperson for Germany, told the Taz newspaper. “It’s counterproductive to fight against windmills.”

Monsanto isn’t giving up in Europe altogether. CBC News says that the company still plans to sell MON 810, a GMO maize crop, in Spain, Portugal and Romania, where acceptance for GMO crops is a bit higher than in, say, Germany, where MON 810 is banned. Monsanto also still plans to lobby the EU to legalize importation of GMO cattle feed.

All of this means that Monsanto is likely to dig in its heels even more in the U.S., where consumer sentiment is only now starting to turn on GMO crops.

“I think it’s a while before these companies back off because the current model of the pesticide industry is so intertwined with GE seeds,” says Paul Towers, the organizing and media director at Pesticide Action Network North America. “Pesticide corporations are very wary of any changes and will fight hard in this country and across the globe to hold onto existing and potentially growing market share.” Monsanto won’t give up without a long, hard, extremely expensive fight.AS