Monsanto paper reveals public fear of GM foods

Firm must prepare for German, UK, "consumer confidence crisis," say leaked documents

Biotechnology giant Monsanto should prepare for increasing European public opposition to genetically modified (GM) crops and food products, according to independent research papers leaked to Greenpeace. Documents released by the group analyse trends in German and British public attitudes to GM foods and to Monsanto as a leading promoter of genetic technologies. They conclude that an anti-GM mood is growing ever stronger in both countries, and that Monsanto is increasingly being identified in the public mind as the number one "criminal". Monsanto is advised by Greenberg Research, which prepared the documents, to take a "low-profile approach" in Germany, capitalising on a "sense of inevitability" it claims many Germans feel about the introduction of GM-foods and crops. However, the "ingredients of a crisis" are there and an appropriate strategy to deal with this possibility must be developed, they say. The UK is described as Monsanto's "toughest European test," where, along with France, the anti-GM movement has "gained energy and possibility". National retailers are "resentful" of Monsanto for "badly mismanaging" the introduction of GM-food into Europe and handing over to them the task of winning over the public. As a result, retailers are "very open to a moratorium," they say. Over 80% of Germans and half of Britons do not approve of food containing GM ingredients, according to the group.

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