BRUSSELS, Belgium - EuropaBio, the European association for bioindustries, has come out strongly against suggestions that manufacturers of genetically modified seeds are abusing a leading position in the market.

"There is no evidence supporting an allegation of market control by a number of its agri-food member companies," it said, in the wake of a Sept. 13 Financial Times report of a "multi-billion dollar antitrust action" in 30 countries against "the world's biggest life science companies and grain processors."

EuropaBio said the agricultural market "is characterized by strong competition." It claimed farmers can buy their seeds in Europe from several hundred small and large companies, and in a few countries (including the U.S., Argentina, Canada, and Spain) they can also choose whether to use genetically modified or conventional seeds.

"The article in the London newspaper itself mentions that 10 companies represent about 30 percent of the seed market, which suggests that the 'market control' allegation is unfounded," EuropaBio said in a statement.

"Farmers make their choices based on their individual needs," it said. "The success of plant biotechnology solutions is based on the benefits they provide to agricultural producers, such as higher yields and decreased pesticide use, which has recently been confirmed by independent research."