Agricultural biotech giant Monsanto, which has brought us genetically modified (GM) corn and soybeans, is no stranger to controversy over its technology. In the early days of the GM debates, Monsanto was criticized for being insensitive to the consumer backlash but ploughed ahead anyway with introducing GM crops.
Well, now it seems it’s had a change of heart. New Scientist reports that Monsanto has decided to halt its GM wheat project, after spending seven years and millions of dollars developing it. Seems like the company’s realized that consumer backlash, no matter what it’s based on, can have a real impact on the bottom line and that maybe it should take heed of it. Wheat farmers in the US and Canada have long said they wouldn’t buy into the technology because they were afraid of losing their overseas customers (Europe and Japan, which really don’t like GM crops) on which they rely heavily for business.
Sounds like Monsanto’s finally learned that consumers will reject a new technology if there’s nothing in it for them and even if the risks to them are small. Monsanto says it’s continuing development on products such as drought-resistant crops.