The full scale of public opposition in Europe to genetically-modified crops has been highlighted by US corporation Monsanto's announcement that it's likely to be at least another three years before if can win approval there for its GM products.

Hendrik Verfaillie, the company's chief executive, said in an interview with the Financial Times that such is the resistance to GM crops that it is now assuming there will be no progress in Europe until 2005 at the earliest.

"We are trying to be conservative," he was reported as saying. "It is better to under-promise than under-deliver."

The company has already conceded that profits this year will be a third lower than it originally hoped for. The more bearish outlook follows hard on the heels of the latest GM crop debacle in the UK. The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has ordered an investigation after it emerged that...

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