Bayer prom­ises no GM crops in Europe

The Myanmar Times - - International Business -

GER­MAN chem­i­cals firm Bayer said it would not in­tro­duce ge­net­i­cally mod­i­fied crops in Europe after its gi­gan­tic takeover of US seed and pes­ti­cide pro­ducer Mon­santo.

“We aren’t tak­ing over Mon­santo to es­tab­lish GM plants in Europe,” chief ex­ec­u­tive Werner Bau­mann told the Sued­deutsche Zeitung news­pa­per.

“Some peo­ple think it might be eas­ier for us than for Mon­santo, given the rep­u­ta­tion we en­joy,” Mr Bau­mann said. “But that’s not our plan at all.

“If pol­i­tics and so­ci­ety in Europe don’t want ge­net­i­cally mod­i­fied seeds, then we ac­cept that, even if we dis­agree on the sub­stance of it,” he ad­dded.

Aspirin-maker Bayer’s planned 58.8 bil­lion euro (US$65.7 bil­lion) takeover of the US firm is the big­gest ever by a Ger­man com­pany.

But it is also one of the most con­tro­ver­sial, thanks to Mon­santo’s GM seeds de­signed for use along­side its pes­ti­cide glyphosate – which has made head­lines this year over can­cer fears.

En­vi­ron­men­tal groups, green politi­cians and some farm­ers vowed to block the “mar­riage made in hell” be­tween the two com­pa­nies after the deal was inked in Septem­ber.

Mr Bau­mann pointed to the Amer­i­cas, where “when this was all new 20 years ago and we had no ex­pe­ri­ence, there were jus­ti­fi­able rea­sons to be scep­ti­cal”.

Beyond the con­tro­ver­sies over GM food and glyphosate, Bayer faces close scru­tiny over its own pes­ti­cides, ac­cused by some of con­tribut­ing to mass die-offs of bees, as well as Mon­santo’s long­stand­ing poor pub­lic im­age, dat­ing back to its pro­duc­tion of the Agent Or­ange de­fo­liant used by US forces in the Viet­nam War. –

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