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GM Crops in the EU – Monsanto is done

July 18, 2013


US Agricultural Biotechnology giant Monsanto announced today its plans to stop trying to get new forms of Genetically Modified (GM) seed approved for cultivation in the European Union. They had pending requests for modified maize, soybean, and sugar beet which have now been retracted among others.

EU law on GM crops involves a long approval process, which can take years to complete. In 2007, Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc., a seed company based in Ohio, sued the European Commission for taking so long to approve its crops. Very few GM crops are approved for cultivation in the EU as a result of this lag. The company plans to renew its request to cultivate MON810, which is a form of GM maize. This is the only genetically modified corn which has received approval for cultivation in Europe to date. After their approval, products are susceptible to extensive labeling and tracking requirements which make them difficult to market.

Monsanto will focus its attention in Europe now on its conventional seed business, spokesperson Brandon Mitchener (on behalf of Monsanto Europe) stated, “The fact is Monsanto is doing quite well in Europe. Our current-long range plan does not have and need biotech”. This comes days after negotiations for a trade agreement between the US and the EU began, with agriculture likely a hot topic. Trade between the US and the EU will likely involve the importation of many GM crops.


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