Mandy Adwell at The 9 Billion blog notes that “it has been a rough year for Monsanto, especially in Europe.”
After several countries banned the use of genetically modified seeds and several others banned the use of certain pesticides, the company has announced it will withdraw all pending approval requests for new genetically modified crops in the European Union, due to a lack of prospects for cultivation. In an interview with Reuters, Monsanto president Jose Manuel Madero cited this as a strategic business move, saying it will allow the company to focus more on conventional seeds such as maize, soybeans, and sugar beets in Europe. It will also maintain the application to renew the approval of MON810 maize, the only GMO crop that is commercially cultivated in parts of Europe. France, Italy, and Germany have all passednational bans on the crop, even though it is still approved by the EU. Despite recent bans and widespread public opposition to genetically modified crops, the company’s seed business still accounts for more than 98% of its $1.72 billion turnover in Europe. While this isn’t a drastically huge move that will forever change the food industry, it’s still a sign of the possibility that Monsanto is feeling pressure from the public to change its ways or get out. It will be a long time before we see a positive shift in how it is incorporated into the food industry – if that ever happens – but small steps in our favor are always good news. Maybe the March Against Monsanto back in May did send them a loud message.