News last update:14 Jan 2016

Monsanto to withdraw GM applications claiming EU too negative

US biotechnology giant Monsanto has announced they are withdrawing all pending applications for commercial cultivation of new biotech crops in the European Union (EU), on the grounds of the EU’s negative stance towards biotechnology.

"As the EU today is effectively a conventional seed market, we have been progressively de-emphasising cultivation of biotech crops in Europe," said a statement.

"Among other things, this means we are no longer seeking approval to commercialise biotech seeds in the EU. We intend to withdraw pending regulatory applications for commercial cultivation of new biotech crops in the EU.

"The EU has not approved a major new biotech product for cultivation since 1998, and currently has suspended the progression of cultivation files towards decisions for political reasons."

Monsanto said its business in Europe was strong and growing and it would be investing several hundred million dollars over the next decade to expand its conventional seed business.

But the company pointed out GM crops were growing globally and Monsanto remained committed to enabling that growth - including working with EU regulators on import approvals for GM crops grown outside of Europe.

It would also support farmers who wanted to grow the one GM crop variety is has approval for in the EU - a maize variety modified to be resistant to the European corn borer. It accounts for less than 1% of the maize cultivated in the EU.

"Monsanto remains committed to bringing cutting-edge agricultural technology to farmers worldwide and enabling international trade in biotech commodities.

"The safety and benefits of these products have been confirmed by numerous regulatory authorities, including EU authorities, and they are available to farmers around the world."

Isabel Davies, Farmers Weekly

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