from Wikipedia Website
Agracetus, owned by Monsanto, exclusively produces Roundup Ready soybean seed for the commercial market.
In March 2005, it finalized the purchase of
Seminis Inc, making it also the largest conventional seed company in
the world. It has over 16,000 employees worldwide, and an annual
revenue of USD$7.344 billion reported for 2006.
funded the start-up with his own money and capital from a soft drink
distributor, and gave the company his wife's maiden name. The
company's first product was the artificial sweetener saccharin,
which it sold to the Coca-Cola Company. It also introduced caffeine
and vanillin to Coca-Cola, and became one of that company's main suppliers. In 1919, Monsanto established its
presence in Europe by entering into a partnership with Graesser's
Chemical Works at Cefn Mawr in Ruabon, Wales to produce vanillin,
salicylic acid, aspirin and later rubber.
Also in this decade, Monsanto operated the Dayton Project, and later Mound Laboratory in Miamisburg, Ohio, for the Manhattan Project, the development of the first nuclear weapons and, after 1947, the Atomic Energy Commission. In 1947, an accidental explosion of ammonium nitrate fertilizer loaded on the French ship S.S. Grandcamp destroyed an adjacent Monsanto styrene manufacturing plant, along with much of the port at Galveston Bay. The explosion, known as the Texas City Disaster, is considered the largest industrial accident in US history, with the highest death toll.
As the decade ended, Monsanto acquired
Viscose from England's Courtauld family in 1949.
These instances began in the mid to late 1990s, with one of the most significant cases being decided in Monsanto's favor by the Canadian Supreme Court.
By a 5-4 vote in late May of 2004, that court ruled that,
With this ruling, the Canadian courts followed the U.S.
Supreme Court in its decision on patent issues involving plants and
Monsanto has since filed responses in the
Although they share the same name, corporate headquarters, many of the same executives and other employees, and responsibility for liabilities arising out of its former activities in the industrial chemical business, the agricultural chemicals business is the only segment carried forward from the pre-1997 Monsanto Company to the current Monsanto Company.
A timeline follows:
And at Walt Disney World they included:
All attractions that the company has ever sponsored were located in
Former Monsanto employees currently hold positions in US government agencies such as the FDA and EPA and even the Supreme Court.
Linda Fisher has even been back and forth
between positions at Monsanto and the EPA.
Monsanto has been sued, and has settled, multiple times for damaging the health of its employees or residents near its Superfund Sites through pollution and poisoning.
In 2004 The Wildlife
Habitat Council, (which has incidentally also given awards to
nuclear power companies, waste management companies, steel
manufacturers, and oil companies), and U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency's National Environmental Performance Track presented a
special certificate of recognition to Monsanto Company during WHC's
16th Annual Symposium.
Roundup has been a source of ongoing
controversy, as researches in several studies have argued leads to
the first stages of and/or causes cancer, while a review of
the toxicity of roundup concluded that "under present and expected
conditions of new use, there is no potential for Roundup herbicide
to pose a health risk to humans".
Maize MON863 genetically engineered and approved for human consumption in Europe was shown to increase triglycerides in female rats by 20-40%, caused increased weight gain in female rats of 3.7%, a decrease in male rat weight of 3.3%, and increased certain indicators associated with liver and kidney toxicity.
The study was conducted by Seralini, Cellier and Spiroux de Vendomois who reanalyzed Monsanto's own data.
Monsanto's 90 day in-house food safety trial on rats was the only study conducted on the crop prior to approval for human consumption. Monsanto claimed that there were no significant differences between rats that ate GM maize MON863 and the control maize.
Interestingly Monsanto tried to block access to the data from the scientific community interested in peer reviewing the data. Upon reanalysis, Monsanto's data showed statistically significant differences between GE fed rats and controls.
showed that MON863 causes liver and kidney toxicity as well as
several other physiological changes. 
"Terminator" seed controversy
In June 2007, Monsanto acquired Delta & Pine Land Company, a company that had been involved with a seed technology nicknamed "Terminator", which produces plants that produce sterile seed to prevent farmers from replanting their crop's seed, rather than purchasing the seed from Monsanto for every planting.
In recent years, widespread opposition from environmental organizations and farmer associations has grown, mainly out of the concerns that these seeds increase farmers' dependency on seed suppliers (having to buy these each year for seeding new crops).
However, Monsanto had
publicly pledged not to commercialize terminator technology.
Monsanto sparked controversy nationwide with the introduction of Bovine somatotropin, abbreviated as rBST and commonly known as rBGH, it is a hormone that is injected into cows to increase milk production, causing a number of problems with the milk, among them, raising levels of pus, antibiotic residues, and a cancer accelerating hormone called IGF-1.
IGF-1 is a hormone stimulated by rBGH in the cow's blood stream, which is directly responsible for the increase in milk production. IGF-1 is a natural hormone found in the milk of both humans and cows causing the quick growth of infants. Though this hormone is naturally found in mothers to be fed to their infants it has an adverse affect on non-infants. IGF-1 behaves as a cancer accelerator in adults and non-infants, this biologically active hormone is associated with breast, prostate, and colon cancers.
According to the New York Times  Monsanto's brand of rBST, Posilac, has recently (March 2008) been the focus for a pro-rBST advocacy group called Afact, made up of large dairy business conglomerates and closely affiliated with Monsanto itself. This group, whose acronym stands for American Farmers for the Advancement and Conservation of Technology, has engaged in large-scale lobbying efforts at the state level to prevent milk which is rBST-free from being labeled as such.
As milk labeled as hormone-free has proved enormously popular with consumers, the primary justification by Afact for their efforts has been that rBST is FDA-approved and that the popularity of milk sold without it is damaging what they claim to be the right of dairy producers to use a technology that maximizes their profits.
Thus far, a large-scale negative consumer response to Afact's legislative and regulatory efforts has kept state regulators from pushing through strictures that would ban hormone-free milk labels, though several politicians have tried, including Pennsylvania's agriculture secretary Dick Wolff, who tried to ban rBST-free milk on the grounds that "consumers are confused"
Proposed labeling changes have been floated
by Afact lobbyists in New Jersey, Ohio, Indiana, Kansas, Utah,
Missouri and Vermont thus far.
Between 1965 and 1972, Monsanto paid contractors to illegally dump thousands of tons of highly toxic waste in UK landfill sites, knowing that their chemicals were liable to contaminate wildlife and people.
The Environment Agency said the chemicals were found to be
polluting groundwater and the atmosphere 30 years after they were
The government was criticized for failing to publish information about the scale and exact nature of this contamination.
According to the
Environment Agency it could cost £100m to clean up the site in south
Wales, called "one of the most contaminated" in the UK.
In January 2005, Monsanto agreed to pay a $1.5m fine for bribing an Indonesian official.
Monsanto admitted a senior manager at Monsanto directed an Indonesian consulting firm to give a $50,000 bribe to a high-level official in Indonesia's environment ministry in 2002, in a bid to avoid Environmental impact assessment on its genetically modified cotton.
Monsanto told the company to disguise an invoice for the bribe as "consulting fees". Monsanto also has admitted to paying bribes to a number of other high-ranking Indonesian officials between 1997 and 2002. Monsanto faced both criminal and civil charges from the Department of Justice and the SEC.
agreed to pay $1m to the Department of Justice and $500,000 to the
SEC to settle the bribe charge and other related violations.
Monsanto was fined $19,000 dollars in a French court on January 26th, 2007 for misleading the public about the environmental impact of its record selling herbicide Roundup.
A former chairman of Monsanto Agriculture France was found guilty of false advertising for presenting Roundup as biodegradable and claiming that it left the soil clean after use.
Environmental and consumer rights campaigners brought the case in 2001 on the basis that glyphosate, Roundup's main ingredient, is classed as "dangerous for the environment" and "toxic for aquatic organisms" by the European Union. Monsanto's French distributor Scotts France was also fined 15,000 euros.
Both defendants were ordered to pay damages of 5,000 euros to the
Brittany Water and Rivers association and 3,000 euros
to the CLCV consumers group.
Resistance in Europe
Monsanto has been facing stiff resistance from the European Union over its portfolio of GM foods. Their approval is important for Monsanto as the EU’s position on GM foods influences the global debate. The GM industry has never gained wholehearted approval from the public in the EU.
There have been several laws passed on this subject, and EU legislation of 2003 asked for strict rules on labeling, traceability and risk assessments of GM foods by all the biotech companies. The Regulation of 2004 laid down procedures on traceability and labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and all products produced using GMOs.
The mandatory labeling legislation extends its requirement to all food and food ingredients produced from GMOs regardless of the detectable presence of DNA or protein within the final food product. These actions severely affected Monsanto as labeling foods as GM would stigmatize the foods. In the EU, there has been a moratorium on the approval of new GM crops since 1998 caused by the public anxiety over the potential risks of GM foods.
Despite that, EU member Spain, a
country with traditionally low consumer awareness,
has been extensively producing GM products which are also exported
to the other EU member states.
Soyabean in Argentina
There are claims that its use increased soya production by 75% and increased yields by 173% over five years till 2002, giving good profitability to farmers. This was good news for the farmers who saw GM soya as a cash crop which had a good export potential as feed for cattle.
Therefore, Argentinean farmers relied on GM soya as their only produce.
In 2004, there were questions
being raised about the actual benefits, Anti-GM soya activists
claimed that the consequences of growing RR soya in Argentina
included a massive exodus of small farmers from the countryside
because they could no longer make a living (as they could not afford
GM soya) or were driven off their land. It also made the farmers
have to buy the GM seeds every year as the seeds produced by GM
crops cannot be reused.
However, due to the growing demand of soya, farmers in
Argentina did not rotate crops and grew only soya, resulting in
damage to the soil.
In 2005, Monsanto had filed two patents for processes which controlled the breeding and the herds of pigs. This resulted in Monsanto being under scrutiny for ownership rights over pigs and their offspring.
Many commentators felt that Monsanto was planning to create improved designer animals for human consumption using special breeding techniques. Monsanto was able to control breeds with specific characteristics as per the patent, and disallowing other breeders and farmers from doing so.
The patent, being broad, remained unclear about the ownership of the proceeds from the sale of the pigs by farmers. It did not mention about the royalties involved when a food producer produces sausages (as an example) using those pigs which are bred using Monsanto’s process.
This was a source of royalty for
Monsanto. Monsanto wanted to cash in on the growing consumer demand
for meat products globally and many activists question the ethics of
This stems from the fact that the patent
filed by Monsanto is quite broad and the interpretation would lead
to them owning not just the breeding process, but also the pigs
which are bred from this method.
Advocates of genetically modified foods stress that this scientific process is one of the ways of increasing food production in a world where the demand for food is ever increasing. It brings about an increase in supply and is beneficial to the community. Hundreds of patents on animals have been granted over the years, including salmon, shrimps and mice.
But most are Genetically Modified
creatures used in laboratory research, not common farm animals which
are a source of income for people.
Monsanto has also made frequent use of the courts
to defend its patents, particularly in the area of biotechnology.
In 1917, the US government filed suit against Monsanto over the
safety of its original product, saccharin. Monsanto eventually won,
after several years in court.
At their own initiative, the company dredged a few hundred yards of the contaminated Snow Creek and surrounding tributaries, but far from enough. After the truth was uncovered by the wider public, prompting swift investigations by the EPA and incinerators were introduced to burn large quantities of sarin and mustard gas produced by Monsanto.
On February 22 2002,
Monsanto was found guilty of “negligence, wantonness, suppression of
truth, nuisance, trespass, and outrage.”
Greenpeace considers RAGT's withdrawal to represent
a victory by Greenpeace over Monsanto and claim that they played a
central role by proving that the variety in question was not the
cross-bred strain described in the application but was really the
traditional strain Nap Hal bred by Indian farmers, despite the
contrary text of the application. RAGT says it withdrew its plant
variety rights for commercial reasons and Greenpeace played no role
in its decision.
Since the mid-1990s, it has sued some 150 US farmers for patent infringement in connection with its GE seed. The usual claim involves violation of a technology agreement that prohibits farmers from saving seed from one season's crop to plant the next.
farmer received an eight-month prison sentence, in addition to
having to pay damages, when a Monsanto case turned into a criminal prosecution. Monsanto reports that it pursues
approximately 500 cases of suspected infringement annually.
The president of Oakhurst responded by saying,
Monsanto specializes in genetically altered seeds especially food crops such as apples, soybeans, and potatoes. Because of these modifications the company has reason to patent their product. This is their greatest advantage, because the consumers must continue to buy new seed each season or risk a law suit for violating Monsanto's patent. 
This is supported by the United States government because it believes in free trade, even though Monsanto's domination over the seed buying market is now a choice between Monsanto or it's top competitor, DuPont.  This genetic engineering has brought more problems than just cornering the market. 
In 1998 Monsanto's patented seeds infected and pollenated farmland, established for forty years, owned by Percy Schmeiser. Monsanto Canada sued the seventy year old farmer for 'stealing' their patented seeds. This high profile case, Monsanto Canada Inc. v. Schmeiser, went to the Supreme Court level.
Monsanto sued an independent farmer, Percy Schmeiser, for patent infringement for growing genetically modified Roundup resistant canola. The 1998 case was portrayed in the media as a classic David and Goliath confrontation (Monsanto vs. Schmeiser). This cross pollination destroyed Schmeiser's forty years worth of carefully grown fields. In March of 2001, Supreme Court Judge W. Andrew MacKay ruled that Schmeiser had violated Monsanto's genetically engineered patent.
The court rejected Monsanto's claim for damages and did not impose punitive damages on Schmeiser, which would not have been expected in a case involving a new question of law.
did cause Monsanto's enforcement tactics to be highlighted in the
media over the years it took to play out.
 In 2008, agreed to
pay the Schmeiser $660 to settle the original small-claims court
case for the cost of removing the patented Roundup Ready canola from
their field in 2005. Monsanto had offered to settle the case in
2005, but Schmeiser refused the original offer because it required
that the couple sign a release stating they would never discuss the
case or the terms of the agreement. In the settlement, Monsanto
Canada assumed no liability. 
Monsanto has petitioned
to change the royalty collection system so that royalties are
collected at harvest rather than upon purchase of the seed.
Monsanto has had a controversial history in India, starting with the accusations of terminator genes in its seed. There were demonstrations against the company. Later, its GM cotton seed was the subject of NGO agitation because of its higher cost. The company also faces increasing piracy of seed in India, with local farmers creating their own varieties.
In 2003 Brazil followed suit
with a similar protest in Goias.
A subsidiary of Monsanto has been accused of employing child labor in the manufacture of cotton-seeds in India. The work involves handling of poisonous pesticides such as Endosulfan and the children get less than Rs.20 (half dollar) per day.
The company has
refuted these claims on the basis that the children are not directly
employed by the company.
Frontline's "Seeds of Suicide: India's Desperate Farmers" has detailed some of the struggles facing the Indian farmer. The transition to using the latest pest-resistant seeds and the necessary herbicides has been difficult. Farmers have been lured to genetically modified seeds promoted by Cargill and Monsanto by the promise of greater yields.
While research has shown that these seeds have delivered on the promise provided increased income and increasing total Indian cotton production since their introduction, in some cases, due to possibly a large number of influences, problematic crops have cost some farmers entire harvests. Resulting debts from such gambles with genetically modified seeds have led some farmers into the equivalent of indentured servitude and alarming suicide rates in the thousands.
This problem has been exacerbated by current
corporate influence in the government: whereas in the past
government experts would give knowledgeable advice to farmers, now
such positions are often filled by corporate representatives who
receive incentives for promoting company products.
The Andhra Pradesh government has
registered a case against Monsanto for its high seed prices.
It reveals numerous controversial facts about Monsanto.
Marie-Monique Robin traveled the world to meet scientists and political figures in order to investigate the consequences of several Monsanto products. The author of the research met several independent scientists around the world who tried to warn the political authorities about the use of GM seeds. According to the journalist, most of these scientists actually lost their jobs as a consequence of their speaking out.
The "revolving door syndrome" is also pointed out in the research as a threat to the quality and independence of the scientific conclusions about the effects of Monsanto products, especially the FDA (Food and Drug Administration).
At the end of the movie, it is explained that Monsanto did not want to answer to Marie-Monique Robin's questions.