WASHINGTON / BRUSSELS - May 10 - The world's biggest seller of genetically modified (GM) seeds, Monsanto Co (NYSE: MON), quietly and unexpectedly stated today that it is stopping all further efforts to commercialise its controversial GM wheat. 
Monsanto started field testing its GM wheat in 1997. In 2002 it applied to commercially grow the GM wheat in the US and Canada. Monsanto's wheat has been modified to resist the company's own herbicide, called RoundUp.
However, GM wheat has faced worldwide opposition from farmers, food manufacturers, environmentalists and consumers. Friends of the Earth is particularly concerned that growing this GM wheat would increase the use of herbicides.
Monsanto failed to get GM crops approved for import or cultivation in Europe for the past six years because of consumer and farmer concerns about GM crops safety. The biotech giant announced in 2003 that it would not try to commercialise its GM wheat in Europe.
Juan Lopez of Friends of the Earth International said:
"This is worldwide victory for consumers and farmers. Virtually every major wheat-user in the world had already rejected this product before it even was allowed on the market. This must be one of the most rejected products ever developed. This is another major financial blow to Monsanto and the corporation should get out of this unwanted GM crops business once and for all."
 Monsanto's statement is on its website: http://www.monsanto.com/monsanto/layout/investor/news&events/2004/05-10-04.asp