Sat. Aug 24th, 2019

Frankenstein food firm ‘quits’ Europe: U.S. giant surrenders in face of public suspicion over its pesticide-resistant GM crops

4 min read

  • Only a  quarter of Britons support the introduction of GM crops
  • But the  Government has thrown its weight behind their use

By  Fiona Macrae

PUBLISHED: 17:45 EST, 18  July 2013 |  UPDATED: 17:45 EST, 18 July 2013

GM giant Monsanto is effectively pulling out  of Europe after years of delays in trying to secure  approval for  ‘Frankenstein food’ crops.

The US-based company is dropping all of its  requests to launch insect and pesticide-resistant forms of corn, sugar beet and  soya beans.

Campaigners said Monsanto had simply realised  that the vast majority of people in Europe would not eat the foods.

Mass opposition: Protesters stage a sit-in against GM foods last year. Monsanto is dropping all of its requests to launch insect and pesticide-resistant forms of corn, sugar beet and soya beans because of opposition 

Opposition: Protesters stage a sit-in  against GM foods  last year. Monsanto is dropping all of its requests to  launch insect and  pesticide-resistant forms of corn, sugar beet and soya beans because of public  suspicion

The decision will be a blow to Britain’s  fledgling GM industry which has been championed by ministers in recent  weeks.

So far, biotech firms have been deterred from  growing GM crops in Europe by the tightest controls in the world.

But the Environment Secretary, Science  Minister and chief scientist have all publicly given the crops their  blessing.

 

Only last month, Environment Secretary Owen  Paterson said Brussels was putting British jobs at risk by dragging its feet  over GM crops.

He also made the extraordinary claim that  millions of children in the developing world are ‘dying or going blind’ because  the controversial technique has not been more widely adopted.

However, the public remains deeply suspicious  of GM foods.

A survey by the Food Standards Agency last  year found two in three believe food from animals given a GM diet should be  labelled as such.

And a British Science Association study  showed public support for so-called ‘Frankenstein foods’ declining from 46 per  cent in 2002 to only 27 per cent now.

Biohazard: The public remains deeply suspicious of GM foods, with only just over a quarter indicating they support them despite efforts by Government claims that not using them will put British jobs at risk 

Biohazard: The public remains deeply suspicious  of GM  foods, with only just over a quarter indicating they support them  despite  efforts by Government claims that not using them will put  British jobs at  risk

Campaign groups have raised concerns over  ministers’ secret meetings with GM lobby groups – details of which emerged  following freedom of information requests. EU member states have long been split  on GM, leading to delays in the licensing of new strains.

Only a handful of applications have been  approved and the seven being withdrawn by Monsanto have been lodged for a  cumulative total of 50 years.

Its European arm will now focus on  conventional crops and weed killer. Other GM companies, such as Bayer  CropScience, Syngenta and BASF have also scaled back or dropped efforts to get  crops accepted in Europe.

The Mail has campaigned against the introduction of GM foods in Britain

Earlier this year German firm BASF abandoned  plans for blight-resistant potatoes.

Peter Melchett, the Soil Association’s policy  director, said: ‘The fact is that there is no commercial market for GM food in  Europe, and therefore no commercial reason for farmers to grow GM  crops.’

Campaign group GM Freeze welcomed Monsanto’s  announcement but pointed out the firm’s GM crops will still be used in animal  feed and biofuels.

Most meat, milk and eggs sold in British  supermarkets come from animals that at some point have been given GM feed  imported from the Americas.

The decision will not affect Monsanto’s  existing European GM crop, an insect-resistant maize. MON 810 is Europe’s only  genetically-modified plant cultivated commercially and is grown for animal feed  in Spain.

Globally, more than 12 per cent of the  world’s arable crops are devoted to GM crops.

David Cameron is concerned Europe risks being  ‘left behind’ after Monsanto’s decision. His official spokesman said: ‘While the  rest of the world is reaping the benefits of new technologies, Europe risks  being left behind. We cannot afford to let that happen.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2369722/Frankenstein-food-firm-quits-Europe-U-S-giant-surrenders-face-public-suspicion-pesticide-resistant-GM-crops.html#ixzz2ZSzFndRF Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Copyright © All rights reserved. Newsphere by AF themes.