A Brief History of Monsanto
In yesterday’s article, Don’t You Just Love Monsanto?, I told you all the wondrous things about the Monsanto corporation and how they were making the world such a better place.
You may have noticed that my tongue was firmly planted in my cheek in writing that article. The truth is I don’t think very highly of Monsanto. And I don’t believe any right-thinking person does either.
But who is this Monsanto corporation? Where did they come from? Today, I give you a brief history of Monsanto.
Monsanto, based out of Creve Coeur, Missouri, is a multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation. It is the world’s leading producer of the herbicide glyphosate, marketed as “Roundup.” Monsanto is also the leading producer of genetically engineered (GE) seed; it sells 90% of the U.S.’s GE seeds.
The reason Monsanto is not a well-loved company – and that’s putting it politely – is because of their development and marketing of genetically engineered seed and bovine growth hormone, as well as its aggressive litigation and political lobbying practices.
Plus in the past, they have created some of the most toxic substances known to the world.
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.
Over the next few decades, Monsanto produced various chemical products, which cemented its place as one of the top chemical companies in the U.S.
Th 1940’s were a fertile decade for this growing company. Major products developed in this decade were the herbicides 2,4,5-T; DDT; and Agent Orange (used primarily during the Vietnam War as a defoliant agent and later proven to be highly carcinogenic to any who come into contact with the solution); the artificial sweetener aspartame (NutraSweet); bovine somatotropin (bovine growth hormone (BST), and PCBs.
Also in this decade, Monsanto operated the Dayton Project, and later Mound Laboratories in Miamisburg, Ohio, for the Manhattan Project, the development of the first nuclear weapons and, after 1947, the Atomic Energy Commission.
In 1982, Monsanto scientists became the first to genetically modify a plant cell. Five years later, Monsanto conducted the first field tests of genetically engineered crops. This development allowed Monsanto, by the late 1990’s, to make a transition from chemical giant to biotech giant.
Thanks to their genetically modified seeds, also known as GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, Monsanto has become the largest producer of glyphosate herbicides through its popular brand, Roundup.
One of the reasons Monsanto’s seed products are genetically modified is to make them immune to Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide. Yet, this new herbicide has been shown to cause liver and kidney toxicity.
In response to questions about the genetically modified organisms they are producing, Monsanto has said, “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 the FDA’s job.”
The problem with that statement is that Monsanto has a very cozy relationship with the FDA.
And then there are the lawsuits against farmers. Monsanto has filed lawsuits against many farmers in Canada and the U.S. on the grounds of patent infringement, specifically the farmers’ sale of seed containing Monsanto’s patented genes.
In many of the cases, the seeds the farmer have sold were unknowingly sown by wind carrying genetically modified seeds from neighboring farms.
Monsanto also 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.
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 typically needed.
So if they get the patent, you will hear of many lawsuits against pig farmers/breeders for patent infringement.
And then there’s Monsanto’s environmental track 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. 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.
And how about Monsanto’s bovine growth hormone, which is another technological advance in the quest to have a completely bioengineered food supply – which some have called “Frankenfoods.”
Bovine somatotropin, abbreviated as rBST and commonly known as rBGH, is technically a recombinant bovine growth hormone. It is a synthetic hormone that is injected into cows to increase milk production.
Bovine growth hormone has been found to produce adverse effects, behaving as a cancer accelerator; this biologically active hormone is associated with breast cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer and colon cancer.
They have even have had the unmitigated gall to sue dairies for advertising that its milk products did not come from cows treated with bovine growth hormone. Monsanto’s claim was that such advertising hurt its business.
At the top of the page is a video that tells about a collaboration between Monsanto and Fox news to squash a report that two Fox news investigative reporters did on bovine growth hormone. The reporters stated that most of the U.S. milk supply is tainted with the growth hormone, and that there were very specific health risks.
The Fox news reporters showed the insidious connections Monsanto has with government regulators, which allow Monsanto to get its way. But because the report hit so close to home, Monsanto was able to get it suppressed.
Monsanto is a true High Density Lifestyle corporation. They only think of their needs at the expense of what is good for the general public. And it doesn’t matter who gets in the way of Monsanto’s insatiable quest for bigger and higher profits.
Consider yourself forewarned…