Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Defra, Nobel House, 17 Smith Square,
London, SW1P 3JR Telephone
08459 33 55 77 Website
[FOI #122741 email]
Our ref: 4919
27 July 2012
Dear Mr. Chapman, REQUEST FOR INFORMATION: MONSANTO PRODUCTS AVAILABLE IN THE UK
Thank you for your request for information about all food products containing Monsanto
GM products or grown using Monsanto pesticides and herbicides imported into the UK or
grown in the UK using any Monsanto seed or pesticides or herbicides produced in the UK
or imported from the US. You also asked if the government had any policy towards this
corporation and their products. We received your request on 22 July 2012 and have
handled your request under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIRs).
I am writing to advise you that Government does not collect or hold all of the data you
have requested, we suggest that in order to gain this you may wish to contact the
company directly. I can confirm that to the best of our knowledge the information is not
held by another public authority. I can also confirm that the government does not have a
specific policy in relation to this this particular company.
The information is therefore exempt under regulation 12(4)(a) of the EIRs, which relates to
information which is not held at the time when an applicant’s request is received.
Regulation 12(4)(a) is a qualified exception, which usually means that a public authority is
required to conduct a public interest test to determine whether or not information should be
disclosed or withheld. However, the Information Commissioner, who is the independent
regulator for requests made under the EIRs, takes the view that a public interest test in
cases where the information is not held would serve no useful purpose. Therefore, in line
with the Information Commissioner’s view, Defra has not conducted a public interest test in
However, under our duty to advise and assist applicants in pursuance of regulation 9,
you might be interested to know that all genetically modified (GM) food and feed products
cultivated in or imported into the European Union (EU) must be in receipt of an appropriate
authorisation required under EU Directive 2001/18 and Regulation 1829/2003. These
regulations require a comprehensive risk assessment to be carried out, and once a
product has been authorised under these pieces of legislation it can then be placed on the
EU market. The European Commission maintain a register of such authorised products
and authorisation holders on their website at: http://ec.europa.eu/food/dyna/gm_register/index_en.cfm.
There are currently no GM crops
cultivated on a commercial basis in the UK, but if you would like further information about
the Government’s policy towards genetically modified organisms then you may wish to visit
our website: http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/quality/gm/.
You might also be interested to know that pesticides, including herbicides, also require
appropriate EU and national authorisations before they can be placed on the market or
used in the UK. The Health and Safety Executive maintain a database of authorised
products on their website at: http://www.pesticides.gov.uk/guidance/industries/pesticides/topics/databases/databases-
This database includes details of which crops may be cultivated with the
assistance of each pesticide product and as you will see some authorised products have
been produced by Monsanto.
I attach an annex giving contact details should you be unhappy with the service you have
If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me.
Yours sincerely Mike Rowe
Direct Line: 0207 238 3182
Fax: 0207 238 3293
Email: [email address]
If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your request you may
make a complaint or appeal against our decision within 40 working days of the date of this
letter. Please write to Brendan Walsh, Head of Defra’s Information Rights Team at
Area1B, Ergon House, Horseferry Road, London, SW1P 2AL, (email: [email address])
and he will arrange for an internal review of your case.
Details of Defra’s complaints procedure are on our website.
If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have the right to apply
directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. Please note that generally the
Information Commissioner cannot make a decision unless you have first exhausted
Defra’s own complaints procedure. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:
Information Commissioner’s Office