Jose Manuel Madero, president of Monsanto in Europe, said the company would withdraw from seeking permission to sell genetically modified seed in the European Union with the exception of renewing its permit to sell a genetically modified strain of corn, MON810, which was approved in 1998 and is grown primarily in Spain.
The Financial Times reported Thursday that the company is giving in after years of making little progress to sell genetically modified seeds in Europe, where the concept is broadly unpopular.
Monsanto is acknowledging that Europe's negative reaction to genetic modification is not likely to change soon, the Times said.
"Our conclusion at this point in time is that there is no clear pathway to commercial approval," Madero said.
The next line of battle is approval for selling animal feeds in Europe that have been raised from genetically modified seed.
Europeans are resistant to raising genetically modified crops, but other countries that supply Europe with animal feeds have not been equally resistant. As such, Europe is "missing out" on new technology and risking paying higher prices for animal feed than other regions, said Owen Paterson, Britain's environment secretary.
"[Other] governments wouldn't license these technologies if they didn't recognize the economic, environmental and public benefits," said Paterson.
"Consumers wouldn't buy these products if they didn't think they were safe and cost-effective," he said.