How satisfactory! Monsanto are giving up on attempts to persuade Europeans to grow their GM crops. Opposition has been fierce – not, sadly, in the UK where the government, currently in the person of our Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Owen Paterson, is all for GM, but over the rest of Europe, especially France, Germany and Italy.
The news only made it to Radio 4 this morning, and seems to have got little coverage in the press, but I had read it in a Reuters press release a week ago and it has been on my ‘blogs to do’ list since – especially since I was urging you only two weeks ago to harass Mr Paterson and the supermarkets over their decision to give up on trying to source chickens which had not been given GM feeds.
However, do not get too excited. Although Monsanto are giving up on their approval requests for GM maize, soyabeans and sugar beet, they are still applying to renew approval for their insect-resistant MON810 maize – the only GMO crop currently cultivated commercially in Europe. For more on this check out the Reuters report.
Moreover, although frustrated on the GM front, Monsanto and Syngenta are forging ahead with a raft of new patents on conventionally bred vegetables and fruits, thanks to the good offices of the current president of the European patent Office, Mr Benoit Battistello. Between them Monsanto and Syngenta already own more than 50% of seed varieties of tomato, paprika and cauliflower in the EU and further wholesale grants of patents will just encourage market concentration to the detriment of the environment, the consumer and developing countries.
If you want to learn more, check out the No Patents On Seeds website here.