Food Companies Oppose GE Sugar Beets

Bio-Engineered Beets Shunned by US Sugar Refiners

(Citing Wall Street Journal, New York, April 26 (Bloomberg) -- U.S.
sugar refiners are telling farmers to avoid genetically modified sugar
beet seed designed by Monsanto Co. and Aventis SA, even though the seed
has been cleared by regulators, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Sugar executives say many makers of candy and food aren't wiling to
accept bio-engineered sugar until the debate over the safety of genetically
modified foods dies down, the Wall Street Journal reported. Chocolate
maker Hershey Foods Corporration has asked farmers not to grow the
crops, the paper reported.

Monsanto, which is 85 percent-owned by Pharmacia Corp., said the
ban isn't having a material impact on its earnings, the Wall Street Journal
said. An Aventis official said the company is still enthusiastic about the
prospect for genetically modified sugar beets, the paper reported. Sugar
beets are grown by 12,000 farmers in the Midwestern U.S. and provide
about half the granular sugar consumed in the country. The food industry's
informal ban on modified forms of the crop has been damaging to breeders
that invested several million dollars cultivating seed they now can't sell,
the paper said.

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