Most Americans know Monsanto because of what it sells to put on our lawns— the ubiquitous weed killer Roundup. What they may not know is that the company now profoundly influences—and one day may virtually control—what we put on our tables. For most of its history Monsanto was a chemical giant, producing some of the most toxic substances ever created, residues from which have left us with some of the most polluted sites on earth. Yet in a little more than a decade, the company has sought to shed its polluted past and morph into something much different and more far-reaching—an “agricultural company” dedicated to making the world “a better place for future generations.” ‘ – Monsanto’s Harvest of Fear
Vanity Fair this month has a good article by Donald Barlett and James Steele on Monsanto, the chemical turned agribusiness who sells most of the GMO seeds in the world. As you can imagine their business is booming despite backlashes from those oh so stubborn Europeans and Japanese who don’t seem to have a taste for GMO soy products. In any event the article touches on a few issues and I’ll warn you it is a lefty leaning article so keep yourself balanced, but a lot of it is true about their campaign of fear, intimation and enforcement of their IP rights (over the seeds). Unlike most companies they have found that their customers keep coming back despite hating Monsanto. The article touches on some various issues including their history of toxic waste and harm (which may not be fully connected to the current company as they split into so as not to taint the seed business).
One of the things I have always thought was garbage that Monsanto has been able to do is fight the labeling laws, trying to prevent dairy farmers from labeling their milk as being free of growth hormones. Thankfully they haven’t gotten those through the FDA (though from the sound of the article they practically run it) but farmers are required to say the treated milk has not been shown to be any different (mind you no long term studies have ever been done)
Read it at Vanity Fair: “Monsanto’s Harvest of Fear”