Daily News Archive
From December 4, 2000

Monsanto Promises to Back Off Some New GE Technologies, Environmentalists Skeptical

On November 27, 2000, the Monsanto Corporation announced that it will back off from some controversial genetic engineering technologies and promised to be more receptive to government safety regulation. Monsanto also pledged not to use animal or human genes in modified crops and promised to sell products commercially only after they are approved for consumption by humans as well as livestock.

"We were blinded by our own enthusiasm," Monsanto Chief Executive Hendrik Verfaillie conceded before a Farm Journal conference, according to the Agribusiness Examiner. "We focused so much on getting this technology right for the grower that we didn't fully take into account the issues and concerns it raised for other people."

Despite the step forward, environmentalists remain skeptical. According to Julie Miles, a co-founder of Genetically Engineered Food Alert, "Monsanto's acknowledgement that they've rushed this technology is meaningful, but if Monsanto truly wants to respond to consumer concerns, it should support mandatory testing and mandatory labeling of
genetically engineered foods." Experts believe that Monsanto's decision was most likely based on its poor performance in the stock market.