Brussels (Belgium) January 10, 2006 - US-based biotech giant, Monsanto, is aiming to genetically modify all of Europe's maize over the next 4 years, reveals a new Friends of the Earth report released today. The report also concludes that in the ten years since the introduction of genetically modified (GM) foods in Europe, the biotech industry has failed to deliver any benefits for consumers or the environment, and has not played any role in solving hunger and poverty.
The Friends of the Earth report highlights that over the past 10 years Monsanto and its trade bodies have consistently worked to weaken European laws to protect consumers, the environment and farmers and that despite overwhelming public rejection in Europe, Monsanto and the biotech industry have an unacceptable influence over many parts of European food, research and agriculture policy. 
The report reveals that in November 2005 Monsanto announced to its investors that it sees Europe as a "Next Opportunity". It highlighted that in the four years up to 2010 there is market potential to introduce 9.7 million hectares of its Roundup Ready maize and 8.2 million hectares of its YieldGard insect-resistant maize. In other words, it is targeting the whole of the European continent's maize production. In addition, it is aiming to introduce 400,000 hectares of its GM soybeans. Monsanto has currently permission to grow only one type of insect-resistant maize in the EU.
However, despite Monsanto's efforts, the Friends of the Earth report reveals that:
Adrian Bebb, GM Campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe said:
"Monsanto's plans to take-over and genetically modify all maize production in Europe should be ringing alarm bells for farmers and consumers. It is crucial that Europe and its national Governments thwart Monsanto's plans to control our food and countryside."
"Our report shows that in the ten years since genetically modified crops were introduced we have seen crops fail in developing countries leaving poor farmers destitute, we've seen an increase in the use of pesticides and we've seen a small number of very big corporations buy up the world's seed supply."
Paul de Clerck, Friends of the Earth Europe's corporate campaigner said:
"Monsanto has been in the driver's seat as the US, Brazil and other countries developed their GM policies, and their influence has been obvious. In Paraguay and Brazil Monsanto's GM products were grown even though they were forbidden, and in Indonesia the company was reduced to bribing government officials. Governments should stop serving the interests of big companies such as Monsanto and put the interests of their citizens and the environment first."
Notes to editors:
 'Who benefits from GM crops?' report and a fact sheet on GM crops can be found above