The American company that produced the world’s first genetically modified crop has admitted for the first time that its “hubris” in promoting the technology contributed to a consumer backlash against genetically modified food.
Speaking to The Independent, Hugh Grant, the chief executive of Monsanto conceded that the company had failed to appreciate public concerns over GM technology when it was introduced nearly 20 years ago.
And he also said that the company had suffered by making “the wrong call” when it failed to rebrand itself in the aftermath of the botched launch of GM in Europe.
“There never had been a lot of trust in companies, particularly not big companies and certainly not big American companies,” he said.
“[But] we were so far removed from that supermarket shelf, that was never something we gave a lot of thought to. We never thought about our place in the food chain.”
Grant hoped some form of consensus could be found between environmentalists and big biotech companies. “There is a middle ground in all this and if the shrill noise could die down my hope is there is an opportunity to engage in this. Maybe this is optimism but I think there is a chance that we are going to look back fondly and say, ‘God – some of those arguments. They were intellectually interesting but practically ridiculous’.”
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