31 March 2000
Monsanto ads make complaints top 10
By FWi staff
ADVERTISEMENTS from life sciences giant Monsanto were among the 10 which attracted the most complaints last year, an advertising watchdogs annual report reveals.
Monsanto misled the public with claims about the benefits of its genetically modified products, said the Advertising Standards Authority.
The ASA upheld 81 complaints against the firm, concluding that some of its claims, which appeared in newspapers last year, were inaccurate, reports BBC Online.
Readers could infer benefits of Monsanto GM tomato were proven despite the fact it had not been approved in 20 countries and risks had not been fully assessed.
Monsanto was asked to remove references that it had conducted safety testing throughout the last 20 years, the ASA said.
Monsanto later apologised for any “misunderstanding” caused.
Last year 8617 adverts drew 12,141 complaints which were resolved by the ASA, 12% of which related to 10 adverts.
Monsanto has recently merged with pharmaceutical company Pharmacia & Upjohn to form a new company called Pharmacia.
Under the deal, part of Monsantos agricultural unit will be sold off and the remainder will operate as a separate company.
Controversy surrounding GM crops had been blamed for dragging down Monsantos share price.
However, Fred Hassan, who will head Pharmacia, recently spoke in support of the GM technology and said his company would go on an “education offensive” to win over sceptical Europeans.