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GMO Critics Protest at Monsanto Meeting; Resolutions Fail

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Genetic Engineering page and our Millions Against Monsanto page.

Critics of genetically modified crops protested at Monsanto Co's annual shareholders meeting on Tuesday, calling for the world's largest seed company to provide a report on contamination in non-GMO crops and to stop fighting mandatory labels on foods containing GMO ingredients.

The requests came in the form of two shareholder resolutions that were backed by environmental, food safety and consumer activist groups. They said that more than 2.6 million members support their efforts.

The resolutions come at a time of heightened debate over the spread of genetically modified crops. Outside the meeting at Monsanto's headquarters in suburban St. Louis, Missouri, about two dozen protesters waved signs criticizing the $15 billion agrichemical and seed company, and 10 people were arrested as they attempted to disrupt traffic.

"We are asking for shareholders to vote in favor of transparency," said Margot McMillen, a Missouri farmer and member of the executive council of the National Family Farm Coalition who introduced one of the resolutions.

Both shareholder resolutions failed to pass after Monsanto officials recommended rejection of the proposals.

Company officials said the global debate over GMO crops prompted them to rethink how they communicate about their products.

Chairman Hugh Grant acknowledged that the company has not done a good job winning public trust, and told shareholders at the meeting that the company was changing its approach.

"There is a recognition that we need to do more," he said.

One of the resolutions put to shareholders sought a report on seed contamination of non-GMO crops, including costs of seed replacement, and crop and production losses, including losses associated with market rejections. That measure gathered 6.51 percent of the vote.