Exclusive Clive Beddall Biotech pioneer Monsanto admits it was "arrogant" when it first promoted the benefits of GM food to UK consumers. But, surprisingly, the multinational's agricultural chief Hugh Grant believes food safety, which has coloured most of the UK debate about GM foods, is "moving off the agenda". In a wide ranging, exclusive interview at Monsanto's Missouri headquarters, Grant talked frankly about the GM views of Prince Charles and Princess Anne and the "courageous" stance on biotech issues shown by Tony Blair. The Monsanto chief said the group misjudged the mood of a British population battered by food safety scares. "Frankly, we didn't communicate early enough, or directly enough. Our media drive in the UK, especially in the Sunday supplements, missed the mark. In truth, our early campaigns were a flop." But he doesn't believe the safety of GM is "much of an issue anywhere in Europe these days". "Our evidence in the US shows we have crossed the food safety bridge. "Around 100 million acres of biotech crops have been grown in the commercial arena for four years, and there has not been one single incidence of allergenic reaction. "Of course, Greenpeace will say there have been no specific allergy checks. But I'm confident that if there had been a health issue, we would have heard about it by now. GM soyabeans are used in infant formula babyfoods. If problems had occurred, we would have heard about it." - Meet Mr Modifier, p34. {{NEWS }}