06 September 2013 21:12 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--Facing increasing opposition toward its offerings of genetically modified crops, Monsanto is withdrawing its applications to introduce biotech corn seed to the EU market, the US-based agribusiness titan said on Friday.
Monsanto has already withdrawn four of eight applications for corn seed varieties that contain the genetically modified traits that primarily focus on controlling pest damages and allow the use of glyphosate-based herbicides, the company said.
Critics and environmental activist have taken a strong stance against Monsanto with claims that the corn and other commodities that have been genetically reformulated are unsafe for human and livestock consumption. In the US, a majority of the corn crop is planted using some version of these traits as it results in less cost to farmers for pesticides and herbicide applications.
Currently, the variety MON810 is the only biotech corn being grown in Europe in limited acreage, most notably in Spain. Monsanto has said it plans to continue to sell the product within that market. Additionally, the company has said it will put its primary focus on developing conventional seed production and breeding for European growers.
In August, France’s top administrative court overturned a ban imposed on Monsanto in 2012 that prevented the company from selling the MON810. The sentiment amongst French agricultural producers and governmental officials is that the advanced genetic technology developed to combat pests and improve yield are a threat to public safety.
France is Europe’s leading grain producer and has recently taken centre stage as the most vocal opponents of modified crops. It is not the only nation to be opposed to the cultivation of genetically modified crops as several countries have blocked its release including Germany, Greece and Poland.
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