Health

AN OPEN LETTER
from Peter Melchett, executive director of Greenpeace UK

Dear Robert Shapiro,
As chairman and chief executive of Monsanto you may know that last week UK Greenpeace released two of your internal reports, one from Britain and the other from Germany. They say that there is 'an ongoing collapse of public support for biotechnology and GM foods' in the United Kingdom. They also say that 'overall feeling towards foods with genetically modified ingredients have grown dramatically more negative'. The British report goes on to say that this is 'probably the best measure of our declining fortunes in Britain'.

It seems to Greenpeace that these two reports contain information of great significance to your shareholders, because it could materially affect the valuation of your shares. Greenpeace will be writing to your major shareholders in the UK to share the information in these reports with them, information which it seems to us you have so far failed to disclose.

I would be very grateful if you could let me know if you will be making these reports available to your shareholders worldwide, or whether, in the interests of open debate which you say you have spent £1 million promoting in this country, you will take steps to encourage all your shareholders to visit the Greenpeace website at http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/monsanto where both documents may be viewed.

Greenpeace understands that there may be further reports available from Stan Greenberg, in particular about public views in the United States on genetically engineered food. Will you make this further information publicly available as part of the 'information campaign' you say you embarked on this summer to 'stimulate informed debates

Finally, it does not seem to make good business sense that you are trying to sell a product that your own market research shows the public do not want. We think it is time you took heed of what your pollsters are telling you, and pulled out of the GMO business.

Reprinted from The Observer, 22 November, 1998.


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