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We Reacted With ‘Hubris and Naivety’ to Consumer Backlash: Monsanto CEO

Hugh Grant, CEO of Monsanto says the company did cool science and worked within regulatory parameters, but was ‘abstract’ in conversations with consumers about GM technology.

Hugh Grant, the President and CEO of Monsanto has admitted that the American seed company did not anticipate the consumer backlash against genetically-modified technology when introduced nearly 20 years ago and had responded to it with ‘hubris and naivety’.

Grant was speaking to UK’s The Independent newspaper which is doing a series on the crops. He hoped that crop science companies and anti-GM activists would find a middle ground and that the debate around the technology would be nuanced rather than ‘intellectually interesting’ but ‘practically ridiculous.’

A lack of public trust in big corporations, particularly American ones, helped activists discredit the technology, he said.

He said those opposed to the technology had no alternatives to offer about producing food for a world population that was estimated to rise to nine billion from seven billion now. Since new land could not be brought under cultivation (without massive deforestation), Monsanto and GM technology would have to be very much part of the food chain.

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(Photo of Hugh Grant, courtesy Monsanto) 

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