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2-Plants: Cargill postpones GM food benefits for 5-7 years

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TITLE:  Cargill sees GM food development taking 5-7 yrs
SOURCE: Reuters
DATE:   May 18, 1999

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Cargill sees GM food development taking 5-7 yrs

HONG KONG, May 18 (Reuters) - The development of the next
generation of genetically modified (GM) foods will probably take
five to seven years, Cargill Inc Chief Executive Ernest Micek
said on Tuesday. But the controversial GM products are needed to
feed growing populations in Asia faced with a finite amount of
arable land, the head of the U.S. agribusiness giant told the
CLSA Investors' Forum. "It is a long-term play," said Micek,
noting that privately owned Cargill and Monsanto Co, also of the
United States, have a joint venture for GM products. "I don't
expect anything for five to seven years," he said.

The creation of Roundup Ready soybean seeds, a transgenic crop
developed by Monsanto, was relatively easy compared to the
creation of future products such as highly unsaturated vegetable
oil or high lysine corn, Micek said. Industry failed to educate
consumers in Europe about the benefit of GM crops, Micek said.
Genetically modified foods have met resistance from the public,
especially in Europe, over concerns about the safety of food and
the environment. But Micek said the revolution in biotechnology
was irreversible and GM foods were part of the solution to
feeding the world's growing population without being forced to
farm on environmentally fragile land. "There is no more available
land and we are going to have to feed an extra 1.8 billion people
in the next 20 to 30 years," he said. 


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