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The Monsanto Company (NYSE: MON) is a multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation. It is the world's leading producer of the herbicide glyphosate, marketed as "Roundup". Monsanto is also by far the leading producer of genetically engineered (GE) seed, holding 70%–100% market share for various crops.


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.[1]

Monsanto's development and marketing of genetically engineered seed and bovine growth hormone, as well as its aggressive litigation and political lobbying practices, have made the company controversial around the world and a primary target of the anti-globalization movement and environmental activists.


History of Monsanto

Monsanto was founded in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1901, by John Francis Queeny, a 30-year veteran of the pharmaceutical industry.


He 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.

In its second decade, the 1920s, Monsanto expanded into basic industrial chemicals like sulfuric acid, and the decade ended with Queeny's son Edgar Monsanto Queeny taking over the company in 1928.

The 1940s saw Monsanto become a leading manufacturer of plastics, including polystyrene, and synthetic fibers. Since then, it has remained one of the top 10 US chemical companies. Other major products have included the herbicides 2,4,5-T and Agent Orange, aspartame (NutraSweet), bovine somatotropin (bovine growth hormone; BST), and PCBs.


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 American Viscose from England's Courtauld family in 1949.

In 1954, Monsanto partnered with German chemical giant Bayer to form Mobay and market polyurethanes in the US. In the 1960s and 1970s, Monsanto became the leading producer of Agent Orange for US Military operations in Vietnam.

In 1980, Monsanto established the Edgar Monsanto Queeny safety award in honor of its former CEO (1928–1960), to encourage accident prevention.

Monsanto scientists became the first to genetically modify a plant cell in 1982. Five years later, Monsanto conducted the first field tests of genetically engineered crops.

Through a process of mergers and spin-offs between 1997 and 2002, Monsanto has made a transition from chemical giant to biotech giant. Part of this process involved the 1999 sale by Monsanto of their phenylalanine facilities to Great Lakes Chemical (GLC) for $125 million. In 2000, GLC sued Monsanto because of a $71 million dollar shortfall in expected sales.

With the dawn of the new millennium in 2001, retired Monsanto chemist William S. Knowles was named a co-winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his research on catalytic asymmetric hydrogenation, which was carried out at Monsanto beginning in the 1960s until his 1986 retirement.

Throughout 2004 and 2005, Monsanto filed lawsuits against many farmers in Canada and the U.S. The lawsuits have been on the grounds of patent infringement, specifically the farmer's sale of seed containing Monsanto's patented genes–which require the farmer initial purchase of the seed and its technology–unknowingly sown by wind carrying the seeds from neighboring crops.


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,

"by cultivating a plant containing the patented gene and composed of the patented cells without license, the appellants (canola farmer Percy Schmeiser) deprived the respondents of the full enjoyment of the monopoly."

With this ruling, the Canadian courts followed the U.S. Supreme Court in its decision on patent issues involving plants and genes.

As of February of 2005, Monsanto has patent claims on breeding techniques for pigs which would grant them ownership of any pigs born of such techniques and their related herds. Greenpeace claims Monsanto is trying to claim ownership on ordinary breeding techniques.[2] Monsanto claims that the patent is a defensive measure to track animals from its system. They furthermore claim their patented method uses a specialized insemination device that requires less sperm than is typical.[3]

In 2006, the Public Patent Foundation filed requests with the U.S. Patent Office to revoke four patents that Monsanto has used in patent lawsuits against farmers. In the first round of reexamination, claims in all four patents were rejected by the Patent Office in four separate rulings dating from February through July 2007.[4]


Monsanto has since filed responses in the reexaminations.


Spin-offs and mergers

Through a confusing series of transactions, the Monsanto that existed from 1901–2000 and the current Monsanto are legally two different corporations.


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:

  • 1985: Monsanto purchases G. D. Searle & Company. In this merger, Searle's aspartame business became a separate Monsanto subsidiary, the NutraSweet Company.

  • 1997: Monsanto spins off its industrial chemical and fiber divisions into Solutia. This transfers the financial liability related to the production and contamination with PCBs at the Illinois and Alabama plants. In January, Monsanto announced the purchase of Holden's Foundations Seeds, a privately-held seed business owned by the Holden family along with its sister sales organization, Corn States Hybrid Service, of Williamsburg and Des Moines, Iowa, respectively. The combined purchase price totaled $925M. Also, in April, Monsanto purchases the remaining shares of Calgene.

  • 1999: Monsanto sells Nutrasweet Co. and two other companies.

  • 2000: Monsanto merges with Pharmacia and Upjohn. Later in the year, Pharmacia forms a new subsidiary, also named Monsanto, for the agricultural divisions, and retains the medical research divisions, which includes products such as Celebrex.

  • 2002: Pharmacia spins off its remaining interest in Monsanto, which has since existed as a separate company: the "new Monsanto." As part of the deal, Monsanto agrees to indemnify Pharmacia against any liabilities that might be incurred from judgments against Solutia. As a result, the new Monsanto continues to be a party to numerous lawsuits that relate to operations of the old Monsanto.


  • 2005: Monsanto purchases Seminis, the largest seed company not producing corn or soybeans in the world.


  • 2008: Monsanto purchases the Dutch seed company De Ruiter Seeds for about 855 million dollars.



Monsanto has been the corporate sponsor of many attractions at Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

At Disneyland they include:

  • Hall of Chemistry

  • Fashions and Fabrics through the Years

  • House of The Future

  • Adventure Thru Innerspace

And at Walt Disney World they included:

  • Magic Eye Theatre

  • Circle Vision 360

All attractions that the company has ever sponsored were located in Tomorrowland..

Monsanto has also been one of many sponsors behind Svalbard Global Seed Vault.



Corporate governance

Current members of the board of directors of Monsanto are:

  • Frank V. AtLee III

  • John W. Bachmann

  • Hugh Grant

  • Arthur H. Harper

  • Gwendolyn S. King

  • Sharon R. Long

  • C. Steven McMillan

  • William U. Parfet

  • George H. Poste

  • Robert J. Stevens

Former Monsanto employees currently hold positions in US government agencies such as the FDA and EPA and even the Supreme Court.


These include:

  • Clarence Thomas

  • Michael Taylor

  • Ann Veneman

  • Linda Fisher

Linda Fisher has even been back and forth between positions at Monsanto and the EPA.

Donald Rumsfeld reportedly earned $12 million from increased stock value when G. D. Searle & Company was sold to Monsanto in 1985.[5]



Environmental and health record

Monsanto has been identified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as being a "potentially responsible party" for 56 contaminated sites (Superfund Sites) in the United States.[6]


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.[7][8][9]


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.

Monsanto is the largest producer of glyphosate herbicides through its popular brand, Roundup.


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,[10][11] 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".[12]

Phil Angell, Monsanto's director of corporate communications explained the company's regulatory philosophy to Michael Pollan in 1998:

“ Monsanto should not have to vouchsafe the safety of biotech food. Our interest is in selling as much of it as possible. Assuring its safety is FDA's job.[13]


MON863 liver and kidney toxicity

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.


The data showed that MON863 causes liver and kidney toxicity as well as several other physiological changes. [14]



"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. [15]


rBGH (recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone)

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.[16]


According to the New York Times [17] 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.




Dumping of toxic waste in the UK

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 dumped.[18]

The Brofiscin quarry, near Cardiff, erupted in 2003, spilling fumes over the surrounding area, but the local community was unaware that the quarry housed toxic waste. A UK government report shows that 67 chemicals, including Agent Orange derivatives, dioxins and PCBs exclusively made by Monsanto, are leaking from one unlined porous quarry that was not authorized to take chemical wastes. It emerged that the groundwater has been polluted since the 1970s.[19]


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.[20]


Indonesian bribing convictions

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.


Monsanto has agreed to pay $1m to the Department of Justice and $500,000 to the SEC to settle the bribe charge and other related violations.[21]


Monsanto fined in France for false advertising

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.[22]



Resistance in Europe

Europeans have been resisting genetically modified food for a long time.


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.[23] 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.[24]


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

Arguably, Monsanto claims one of its greatest success stories has been genetically modified soyabean (Roundup Ready soya) grown and sold 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.

Monsanto reasoned that the soil degradation and increased use of pesticides was not due to the use of its GM Soya. It maintains that farmers need to rotate crops in order to allow the soil to recover. Farmers should grow GM soya and then rotate it with corn or other cash crops.


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.[25]



Pig controversy

After getting involved in the Soya controversies, Monsanto found itself in the midst of another controversy with its "Pig Patent".


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 Monsanto’s actions.[26]

The filing of the patents also raises questions about the livelihood of all the pig breeders – those who use Monsanto process on the ownership and those who use traditional methods of pig rearing accused of patent infringement. As like the earlier seed controversy and the Canadian incident, the farmers are afraid of losing their livelihood due to Monsanto’s breeding technique. They fear that Monsanto would also file lawsuits against them like they did to the soya and corn farmers.


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.[27]

However, there is no evidence of any addition in the nutritional value and fat content lowering which has been claimed by Monsanto. On its part, Monsanto claims that it is not trying to patent pigs; it wants the ability to track which animals come from its system.


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.



Legal issues

Monsanto is notable for its involvement in high profile lawsuits, as both plaintiff and defendant. It has been involved in a number of class action suits, where fines and damages have run into the hundreds of millions of dollars, usually over health issues related to its products.


Monsanto has also made frequent use of the courts to defend its patents, particularly in the area of biotechnology.

As defendant

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.

It was sued, along with Dow and other chemical companies by veterans for the side effects of its Agent Orange defoliant, used by the US military in the Vietnam War.[28]

In 2000, GLC sued Monsanto for the $71 million dollar shortfall in expected sales.

More recently, it lost a series of court decisions resulting in US$700 million in damages being awarded to thousands of residents of the town of Anniston, Alabama that had been polluted over a period of years by Monsanto's PCB byproducts. It was settled with the following judgment. Though the PCB production was outlawed in 1979 and Monsanto ceased production in 1977, it failed to clear up the levels of PCB already in the natural population, until detection by the federal Soil Detection Service.


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.[29]


On February 22 2002, Monsanto was found guilty of “negligence, wantonness, suppression of truth, nuisance, trespass, and outrage.”[30]

On October 13th, 2004, the European plant variety rights on a conventionally-bred strain of soft-milling wheat owned by French company RAGT Genetique were withdrawn at RAGT's request. The strain, called Galatea, was developed by Unilever and purchased by Monsanto in 1998; RAGT purchased the strain from Monsanto in May 2004 along with Monsanto's European wheat and barley business. Galatea is a cross between a European wheat strain and a conventional Indian variety Nap Hal.


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.

Also in 2004, the world's largest agrichemical company, Switzerland's Syngenta, launched a US lawsuit charging Monsanto with using coercive tactics to monopolize markets.[31] There are several lawsuits going both ways between Monsanto and Syngenta.

Monsanto is on trial in Carcassonne, France, as of September 20 2006, for having allegedly illegally imported 100 tonnes of soya seed contaminated with GM varieties, of which 50 tonnes were sold to local farmers. 50 tonnes were sent back to the USA.[32]

As plaintiff

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.


One 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.

In 2003, Monsanto sued Oakhurst Dairy in Maine for advertising that its milk products did not come from cows treated with bovine growth hormone, claiming that such advertising hurt its business.


The president of Oakhurst responded by saying,

"We ought to have the right to let people know what is and is not in our milk."[33]

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. [34]


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. [35] This genetic engineering has brought more problems than just cornering the market. [36]


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.

"This is very good news for us, Mr. Schmeiser had infringed on our patent." said Monsanto's Trish Jordan.

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.


The case did cause Monsanto's enforcement tactics to be highlighted in the media over the years it took to play out. [37] 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.[38] In the settlement, Monsanto Canada assumed no liability. [39]

Monsanto has asked Spanish customs officials to inspect soy-meal shipments to determine if they use Monsanto's "Roundup Ready" technology. Monsanto claims that 30% of Argentina's production uses black market-purchased Roundup Ready seed.


Monsanto has petitioned to change the royalty collection system so that royalties are collected at harvest rather than upon purchase of the seed.


Related legal actions

In 1997, Fox News reportedly bowed to pressure from Monsanto to suppress an investigative report on the health risks associated with Monsanto's bovine growth hormone product, Posilac.[1]


Posilac, a synthetic drug used to increase milk production in cows, is banned in most first-world countries, with the exception of the United States, where it can be found in much of the milk supply.


Fox pressured its reporters, Steve Wilson and Jane Akre, to alter their report, despite evidence that Monsanto had lied about the risks of contaminated milk and infected cattle. (Watch below video)








The reporters refused to comply, and were eventually fired.


Wilson and Akre then sued Fox News in Florida state court, claiming they could not be fired for refusing to do something that they believed to be illegal.


In 2000, a Florida jury found in favor of the reporters, however this decision was overturned in 2003 by an appeals court, on a technicality in the interpretation of the whistleblower's statute under which the original case had been filed, as fabricating the news is not actually illegal. The reporters' struggle with Fox News is ongoing. The findings in their original report were never directly challenged.

This story can be seen in the feature length documentary film The Corporation.

Monsanto vs Andhra Pradesh Government in India
The state of Andhra Pradesh, India, at first resisted Bt cotton and later, as it proved immensely popular with farmers, has attempted to control its price. In 2005, after a commission's fact finding statement, the state agriculture minister barred the company from selling cotton seeds in the state of Andhra Pradesh. [2]


The order was later lifted. More recently, the Andhra Pradesh state government filed several cases[40] against Monsanto and its Mumbai based licensee Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds, after they challenged the order directing the company not to charge a trait price of more than Rs. 900 per pack of 450 grams of Bt. Cotton seed. [3][4]


The Andhra Pradesh State Government has also sought a compensation package of about Rs 4.5 crore (about 1 Million US$) to be paid by the company to farmers affected in some districts.



In India

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.[41][42]


In 2003 Brazil followed suit with a similar protest in Goias.[43]

Child labor

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.[44]


The company has refuted these claims on the basis that the children are not directly employed by the company.


Farmer suicides in India

Frontline's "Seeds of Suicide: India's Desperate Farmers" has detailed some of the struggles facing the Indian farmer.[45] 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.[46][47]


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.

In India, Monsanto's GM seed business is run by a joint venture, Mahyco Monsanto Biotech (MMB) India Ltd.[48] and markets its BT Cotton seeds under various names.


The Andhra Pradesh government has registered a case against Monsanto for its high seed prices.[49]



Political contributions

Monsanto gave $106,500 to federal candidates in the 05/06 election cycle through its political action committee (PAC):

  • 32% to Democrats

  • 68% to Republicans [50]


  • The company spent $3,640,000 for lobbying in 2006

  • $680,000 was to outside lobbying firms with the remainder being spent using in-house lobbyists [51]





Media representation




The Corporation









The Future of Food








El Futuro de Los Alimentos



Parte 1





Parte 2






Parte 3





Le Monde selon Monsanto

In March 2008, French journalist Marie-Monique Robin released the results of her three years of research worldwide into Monsanto. A book was published by La Découverte, a French editor, and a video documentary, Le Monde selon Monsanto (The World according to Monsanto), was released on DVD and shown on Arte TV.[52][53]


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.






  1. "Google Finance: Monsanto Company. Retrieved on January 6, 2007.

  2. Greenpeace, 2 August 2005, "Monsanto files patent for new invention: the pig"

  3. Stephanie Condron. "GM crop giant wants to patent a super-pig", Daily Mail (London), 2005-08-11, p. 18. 

  4. "Monsanto Anti-Farmers Patents—Related Documents" from Public Patent Foundation

  5. Mark Mazzetti; Richard J. Newman; Kenneth T. Walsh; Kevin Whitelaw; Jeff Glasser. "Rumsfeld Way", U.S. News & World Report, 2001-12-17, p. 20. 

  6. Wasting Away: Superfund's Shell Game from The Center for Public Integrity

  7. Monsanto Held Liable For PCB Dumping.

  8. The Politics Behind the Scientific Debate on Dioxin.


  10. A case-control study of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and exposure to pesticides.

  11. New Study Links Monsanto's Roundup to Cancer.

  12. GM Williams, R Kroes, JC Munro (2000). "Safety evaluation and risk assessment of the herbicide Roundup and its active ingredient, glyphosate, for humans". Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology 31-N2: 117-165.  PMID 10854122.

  13. Michael Pollan. "Playing God in the Garden", The New York Times Magazine, 1998-10-25, p. Section 6; Page 44. 

  14. Gilles-Eric Seralini; Dominique Cellier; Joel Spiroux de Vendomois (2007). "New Analysis of a Rat Feeding Study with a Genetically Modified Maize Reveals Signs of Hepatorenal Toxicity". Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 52: 596–602. Springer. 

  15. World braced for terminator 2. The Guardian (1999). Retrieved on 28 January 2008.

  16. Ewall, Mike. Bovine Growth Hormone: Milk does nobody good from (Web Resources for Environmental Justice Activists) 17 October 2007

  17. Fighting on a Battlefield the Size of a Milk Label from The New York Times

  18. "The wasteland: how years of secret chemical dumping left a toxic legacy", The Guardian. Retrieved on 2007-09-27. 

  19. "Brofiscin Quarry", environment agency. Retrieved on 2007-09-27. 

  20. "Monsanto dumped toxic waste in UK", Guardian. Retrieved on 2007-09-27. 

  21. "Monsanto fined $1.5m for bribery", BBC. Retrieved on 2007-09-28. 

  22. "Monsanto Fined in France for 'False' Herbicide Ads", Organic Consumers Association. Retrieved on 2007-09-28. 

  23. Tough European line on GM labelling from The Guardian

  24. Troubled Monsanto scales down GM hopes in Europe from The Guardian

  25. GM soya 'miracle' turns sour in Argentina from The Guardian

  26. Monsanto files patent for new invention: the pig | Greenpeace International

  27. Monsanto develops "Genetically Modified Pig" from Centre for Research on Globalization

  28. "Vietnam's war against Agent Orange", June 14, 2004. 

  29. Monsanto Hid Decades Of Pollution from The Washington Post

  30. Monsanto Held Liable For PCB Dumping from The Washington Post

  31. Monsanto's Monopoly of Biotech Sector Spurs Lawsuit from Organic Consumers Association

  32. Monsanto in court in France from Indy Media

  33. Democracy Now, Headlines (July 14, 2003). "Monsanto Sues Milk Producer For Advertising It Sells Hormone-Free Milk". Democracy Now. Retrieved on 2006-12-22.

  34. Melody Peterson (1999-8-29). "New Trade Threat for U.S. Farmers". New York Times. 

  35. Peter Montague (1999-9-2). "Monsanto: The Bad Seed". Environmental Health Weekly. 

  36. Emily Gersema. "Death Sentence for Monsanto--Roundup Resistant Weeds". Associated Press. 

  37. Gar Smith (2001 autumn). "Percy Schmeiser vs. Monsanto". Earth Island Journal. 

  38. Grain Farmer Claims Moral Victory in Seed Battle Against.

  39. Percy Schmeiser Settles Small Claims Court Issue with Monsanto Canada. Monsanto (press release).

  40. A.P. Government files contempt petition before MRTPC against Monsanto from The Hindu

  41. India's GM seed Piracy from BBC News

  42. Farmers welcome halt of 'terminator' from BBC News

  43. Brazil activists target Monsanto from BBC News

  44. Child Labour and Trans-National Seed Companies in Hybrid Cotton Seed Production in Andhra Pradesh from India Committee of the Netherlands

  45. Seeds of Suicide: India's desperate farmers from the Public Broadcasting System

  46. Farmer's Suicides from Z Magazine

  47. Indian Farmer's Final Solution from

  48. Controversy: The Andhra Pradesh experience from The Hindu

  49. A.P. Government files contempt petition before MRTPC against Monsanto from The Hindu

  50. 2006 PAC Summary Data, Open Secrets.

  51. Monsanto lobbying expenses, Open Secrets.

  52. Le monde selon Monsanto

  53. The world according to Monsanto





Monsanto Canada Inc. v. Schmeiser, Federal Court of Canada decision

Monsanto Canada Inc. v. Schmeiser, Supreme Court of Canada decision

Monsanto's part in Disneyland history

Monsanto vs Bees

Monsanto BGH lawsuit

After killer cotton, killer brinjal?

Marie-Monique Robin: Le Monde selon Monsanto - De la dioxine aux OGM, une multinationale qui vous veut du bien. Coédition Arte / La Découverte, 2008. English: "The World According to Monsanto"