Monsanto Kills: The Dark History of the World’s Largest Seed Owner
Monsanto = Extinction
Movies About Monsanto
Dark History of the Evil Monsanto Corporation
click here to see Monsanto’s History TIMELINE
|Monsanto is the world’s leading producer of the herbicide “Roundup”, as well as producing 90% of the world’s genetically modified (GMO) seeds.Over Monsanto’s 110-year history (1901-2011), Monsanto Co (MON.N), the world’s largest seed company, has evolved from primarily an industrial chemical concern into a pure agricultural products company. MON profited $2 billion dollars in 2009, but their record profits fell to only $1 billion in 2010 after activists exposed Monsanto for doing terribly evil acts like suing good farmers and feeding uranium to pregnant women. Below is a timeline of Monsanto’s dark history.Monsanto, best know today for its agricultural biotechnology GMO products, has a long and dirty history of polluting this country and others with some of the most toxic compounds known to humankind. From PCBs to Agent Orange to Roundup, we have many reasons to question the motives of this evil corporation that claims to be working to reduce environmental destruction and feed the world with its genetically engineered GMO food crops. Monsanto has been repeatedly fined and ruled against for, among many things: mislabeling containers of Roundup, failing to reporthealth data to EPA, plus chemical spills and improper chemical deposition.|
The name Monsanto has since, for many around the world, come to symbolize the greed, arrogance, scandal and hardball business practices of many multinational corporations. A couple of historical factoids not generally known: Monsanto was heavily involved during WWII in the creation of the first nuclear bomb for the Manhattan Project via its facilities in Dayton Ohio and called the Dayton Project headed by Charlie Thomas, Director of Monsanto’s Central Research Department (and later Monsanto President) and it operated a nuclear facility for the federal government in Miamisburg, also in Ohio, called the Mound Project until the 80s.
Monsanto is a US based agricultural and pharmaceutical monopoly, Monsanto Company is a producer of herbicides, prescription pharmaceutical drugs, and genetically engineered (GMO) seeds. The global Monsanto corporation has operated sales offices, manufacturing plants, and research facilities in more than 100 countries. Monsanto has the largest share of the global GMO crops market. In 2001 its crops accounted for 91% of the total area of GMO crops planted worldwide. Based on 2001 figures Monsanto was the second biggest seed company in the world, and the third biggest agrochemical company.
Historically Monsanto has been involved with the production of PCBs, DDT, dioxins and the defoliant / chemical weapon ‘Agent Orange‘ (sprayed on American troops and Vietnamese civilians during the Vietnam War). Originally a chemical company, Until the late 1990s Monsanto was a much larger ‘lifesciences’ company whose business covered chemicals, polymers, food additives and pharmaceuticals, as well as agricultural products.
All of these other chemical business areas have now been demerged or sold off. Monsanto sold its chemical business in 1997 to build a presence in biotechnology, developing NON-ORGANIC GMO soybeans and corn (classified as a pesticide and banned in the EU) to resist the poisonous affects of its Roundup herbicide. Monsanto’s key business areas are now agrochemicals, seeds and traits (including GMO crops), Monsanto also produced NutraSweet, a GMO sugar substitute. Monsanto recently sold it’s GMO bovine growth hormones monopoly to Eli Lilly, and sold it’s aspartame business to Pfizer.
Monsanto’s business is currently run in two parts: Agricultural Productivity, and Seeds and Genomics. The Agricultural Productivity segment includes Roundup herbicide and other agri-chemicals, and the Animal Agriculture business. The Seeds and Genomics segment consists of seed companies and related biotechnology traits, and a technology platform based on plant genomics. In reality of course these two segments are inseparable, since the agri-chemicals are becoming increasingly dependent on the seeds segment for sales.
Monsanto traces its roots to John Francisco Queeny, a purchaser for a wholesale drug house at the turn of the century, who formed the Monsanto Chemical Works in St. Louis, Missouri, in order to produce the artificial sweetener saccharin for Coca-Cola.
John Francis Queeny (August 17, 1859 – March 19, 1933) started work at age 12 for a wholesale drug company, Tolman and King. He attended school for 6 years until the Great Chicago Fire forced him, at the age of 12, to look for full-time employment, which he found with Tolman and King for $2.50 per week.
In 1891, he moved to St. Louis to work for Meyer Brothers Drug Company. John was inducted into the Knights of Malta order. His first business, a sulfur refinery in East St.Louis, was destroyed by fire on its first day of operation in 1899. The process of refining beet sugar in 1900, led to Monsanto Corporation’s first artificial sweetener, the following year. Butter substitute, MSG and partially hydrogenated vegetable shortening were all soon to follow.
John Francis Queeny married Olga Mendez Monsanto with whom he had two children, one of whom was Edgar Monsanto Queeny, who would later serve as Chairman. n 1901, John then established his own chemical company to produce the sweetener, saccharin, which was only available in Germany at that time. He named the company Monsanto after his wife´s maiden name, Olga Monsanto Queeny.
Queeny was a member of the Missouri Historical Society and was a director of the Lafayette-South Side Bank and Trust Company. “He was also known for his many
Knight of Malta John F. Queeny: Founder of Monsanto
According to the Count in Venice, John Francis Queeny (founder of The Monsanto Company) was a Knight of Malta. Irish-American ROMAN Catholic Queeny (1859-1933) founded Monsanto in 1901 within the Jesuit stronghold of St. Lewis – hosting the Black Pope’s Saint Louis University since 1818.
Robert B. Shapiro was Monsanto’s CEO from 1995 to 2000.
Once the manufacturer of the now outlawed DDT and Agent Orange during Francis Cardinal Spellman’s CIA-directed Vietnam War, the company also developed and now markets bovine growth hormone, further poisoning the food chain here in America. It is most intriguing that Europe – the pope’s Revived Holy Roman Empire deceptively called “The European Union” – refuses to purchase beef produced in the United States!
Upon purchasing G. D. Searle and Company in 1985, Monsanto, via its NutraSweet Company, is the manufacturer of Aspartame, the notorious neuro-toxin sold to the public as an artificial sweetener. Aspartame is the “artificial sweetener” in the soft drink “Diet Pepsi,” Pepisico once employing JFK assassin / FBI liaison to the Warren Commission and Knight of Malta Cartha D. DeLoach.
Monsanto also has strong ties to The Walt Disney Company, with financial backing from the Order’s Bank of America founded in Jesuit-ruled San Francisco by Italian-American ROMAN Catholic Knight of Malta Amadeo Giannini in 1904. Disney owns ABC Television Network and its Director Emeritus is Roy Disney (brother of the late Walt Disney) who was inducted into the Knights of St. Gregory during the same ceremony with Fox Network owner Rupert Murdoch. ABC and Fox are both controlled by Rome through brother Knights of the Order of St. Gregory!
World War I: Petrochemicals
While prior to World War I America relied heavily on foreign supplies of chemicals, the increasing likelihood of U.S. intervention meant that the country would soon need its own domestic producer of chemicals. Looking back on the significance of the war for Monsanto, Queeny’s son Edgar remarked, “There was no choice other than to improvise, to invent and to find new ways of doing all the old things. The old dependence on Europe [Hitler's IG Farben in Nazi Germany] was, almost overnight, a thing of the past.” Among other problems, Monsanto researchers discovered that pages describing German chemical processes had been ripped out of library books. Monsanto developed several pharmaceutical products, including phenol as an antiseptic, in addition to acetylsalicyclic acid, or aspirin.
Under Edgar Queeny’s direction Monsanto, now the Monsanto Chemical Company, began to substantially expand and enter into an era of prolonged growth. Acquisitions expanded Monsanto’s product line to include the new field of petrochemical plastics and the manufacture of phosphorus.
Largely unknown by the public, Monsanto experienced difficulties in attempting to market consumer goods. However, attempts to refine a low-quality detergent led to developments in grass fertilizer, an important consumer product since the postwar housing boom had created a strong market of homeowners eager to perfect their lawns.
Under Hanley, Monsanto more than doubled its sales and earnings between 1972 and 1983. Toward the end of his tenure, Hanley put into effect a promise he had made to himself and to Monsanto when he accepted the position of president, namely, that his successor would be chosen from Monsanto’s ranks. Hanley and his staff chose approximately 20 young executives as potential company leaders and began preparing them for the head position at Monsanto. Among them was Richard J. Mahoney. When Hanley joined Monsanto, Mahoney was a young sales director in agricultural products. In 1983 Hanley turned the leadership of the company over to Mahoney. Wall Street immediately approved this decision with an increase in Monsanto’s share prices.
|1976, Monsanto announced plans to phase out
production of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB).In 1979 a lawsuit was filed against Monsanto and other manufacturers of agent orange, a defoliant used during the Vietnam War. Agent orange contained a highly-toxic chemical known as dioxin, and the suit claimed that hundreds of veterans had suffered permanent damage because of the chemical. In 1984 Monsanto and seven other manufacturers agreed to a $180 million settlementjust before the trial began. With the announcement of a settlement Monsanto’s share price, depressed because of the uncertainty over the outcome of the trial, rose substantially.Also in 1984, Monsanto lost a $10 million antitrust suit to Spray-Rite, a former distributor of Monsanto agricultural herbicides. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the suit and award, finding that Monsanto had acted to fix retail prices with other herbicide manufacturers.In August 1985, Monsanto purchased G. D. Searle, the “NutraSweet” firm. NutraSweet, an artificial sweetener, had generated $700 million in sales that year, and Searle could offer Monsanto an experienced marketing and a sales staff as well as real profit potential – not to mention the fact that Searle’s CEO Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was well-connected among a cabal of corrupt politicians in Washington DC. Since the late 1970s the company had sold nearly 60 low-margin businesses and, with two important agriculture product patents expiring in 1988, a major new cash source was more than welcome. What Monsanto didn’t count on, however, was the controversy surrounding Searle’s intrauterine birth control device called the Copper-7.Soon after the acquisition, disclosures about hundreds of lawsuits over Searle’s IUD surfaced and turned Monsanto’s takeover into a public relations disaster. The disclosures, which inevitably led to comparisons with those about A. H. Robins, the Dalkan Shield manufacturer that eventually declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy, raised questions as to how carefully Monsanto management had considered the acquisition. In early 1986 Searle discontinued IUD sales in the United States. By 1988 Monsanto’s new subsidiary faced an estimated 500 lawsuits against the Copper-7 IUD. As the parent company, Monsanto was well insulated from its subsidiary’s liabilities by the legal “corporate veil”.Toward the end of the 1980s, Monsanto faced continued challenges from a variety of sources, including government and public concern over hazardous wastes, fuel and feedstock costs, and import competition. At the end of the 99th Congress, then President Ronald Reagan signed a $8.5 billion, five-year cleanup superfund reauthorization act. Built into the financing was a surcharge on the chemical industry created through the tax reform bill. Biotechnology regulations were just being formulated, and Monsanto, which already had types of genetically engineered bacteria ready for testing, was poised to be an active participant in the GMO biotech field.In keeping with its strategy to become a leader in the health field, Monsanto and the Washington University Medical School entered into a five-year research contract in 1984. Two-thirds of the research was to be directed into areas with obviously commercial applications, while one-third of the research was to be devoted to theoretical work. One particularly promising discovery involved the application of the bovine growth factor, MARKETED as a way to greatly increase milk production.In the burgeoning low-calorie sweetener market, challengers to NutraSweet were putting pressure on Monsanto. Pfizer Inc., a pharmaceutical company, was preparing to market its product, called alitame, which it claimed was far sweeter than NutraSweet and better suited for baking.
In an interview with Business Week, senior vice-president for research and development Howard Schneiderman commented, “To maintain our markets – and not become another steel industry – we must spend on research and development.” Monsanto, which has committed 8% of its operating budget to research and development, far above the industry average, hoped to emerge in the 1990s as one of the leaders in the fields of biotechnology and pharmaceuticals that are only now emerging from their nascent stage.
By the end of the 1980s, Monsanto had restructured itself and become a producer of specialty chemicals, with a focus on biotechnology products. Monsanto enjoyed consecutive record years in 1988 and 1989 – sales were $8.3 billion and $8.7 billion, respectively. In 1988 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Cytotec, a drug that prevents gastric ulcers in high-risk cases. Sales of Cytotec in the United States reached $39 million in 1989.
The Monsanto Chemical Co. unit prospered with products like Saflex, a type of nylon carpet fiber. The NutraSweet Company held its own in 1989, contributing $180 million in earnings, with growth in the carbonated beverage segment (which Monsanto originated from since 1901 seed money from Coca-Cola to produce carcinogenic Saccharin). Almost 500 new products containing NutraSweet were introduced in 1989, for a total of 3,000 products.
Monsanto continued to invest heavily in research and development, with 7% of sales allotted for R&D. The investment began to pay off when the research and development department developed an all-natural fat substitute called Simplesse. The FDA declared in early 1990 that the Simplesse product was “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) for use in frozen desserts. That year, the NutraSweet Company introduced Simple Pleasures frozen dairy dessert. Monsanto hoped to see Simplesse used eventually in salad dressings, yogurt, and mayonnaise.
Despite these successes, Monsanto remained frustrated by delays in obtaining FDA approval for bovine somatotropin (BST), a hormore chemical MARKETED to increase milk production in cows that causes mastitis (pus milk). Opponents to BST said it would upset the balance of supply and demand for milk, but Monsanto countered that BST would provide high-quality food supplies to consumers worldwide.
The final year of the 1980s also marked Monsanto’s listing for the first time on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Monsanto officials expected the listing to improve opportunities for licensing and joint venture agreements.
Monsanto had expected to celebrate 1990 as its 5th consecutive year of increased earnings, but numerous factors – the increased price of OIL due to the Persian Gulf War, a recession in key industries in the United States, and droughts in California and Europe — prevented Monsanto from achieving this goal. Net income was $546 million, a dramatic drop from the record of $679 the previous year. Nonetheless, subsidiary Searle, which had experienced considerable public relations scandals and headaches in the 1980s, had a record financial year in 1990. The subsidiary had established itself in the global pharmaceutical market and was beginning to emerge as an industry leader. The Monsanto Chemical Co., meanwhile, was a $4 billion business that made up the largest percentage of Monsanto’s sales.
Monsanto continued to work at upholding hypocritical “The Monsanto Pledge”, a 1988 declaration to reduce emissions of toxic substances. By its own estimates, Monsanto devoted $285 million annually to environmental expenditures. Furthermore, Monsanto and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) agreed to a cleanup program at Monsanto’s detergent and phosphate plant in Richmond County, Georgia.
Monsanto restructured during the early 1990s to help cut losses during a difficult economic time. Net income in 1991 was only $296 million, $250 million less than the previous year. Despite this showing, 1991 was a good year for some of Monsanto’s newest products. Bovine somatotropin finally gained FDA approval and was sold in Mexico and Brazil, and Monsanto received the go-ahead to use the fat substitute, Simplesse, in a full range of food products, including yogurt, cheese and cheese spreads, and other low-fat spreads. In addition, the herbicide Dimension was approved in 1991, and scientists at Monsanto controversially tested genetically engineered (GE or GMO) plants in field trials.
Furthermore, Monsanto expanded internationally, opening an office in Shanghai and a plant in Beijing, China. Monsanto also hoped to expand in Thailand, and entered into a joint venture in Japan with Mitsubishi Chemical Co.
Monsanto’s sales in 1992 hit $7.8 million. However, as net income dropped 130% from 1991 due to several one-time aftertax charges, Monsanto prepared itself for challenging times. The patent on NutraSweet brand sweetener expired in 1992, and in preparation for increased competition, Monsanto launched new products, such as the NutraSweet Spoonful, which came in tabletop serving jars, like sugar. Monsanto also devoted ongoing research and development to Sweetener 2000, a high-intensity product.
In 1992, Monsanto denied that it planned to sell G. D. Searle and Co., pointing out that Searle was a profitable subsidiary that launched many new products. However, to decrease losses, Monsanto did sell Fisher Controls International Inc., a subsidiary that manufactures process control equipment. Profits from the sale were used to buy the Ortho lawn-and-garden business from Chevron Chemical Co.
Monsanto expected to see growth in its agricultural, chemical, and biotechnological divisions. In 1993, Monsanto and NTGargiulo joined forces to produce a (GMO) genetically altered tomato. As the decade progressed, biotechnology played an increasingly important role, eventually emerging as the focal point of Monsanto’s operations. The foray into biotechnology, begun in the mid-1980s with a $150-million investment in a genetic engineering lab in Chesterfield, Missouri, had been faithfully supported by further investments in the ensuing years. Monsanto’s efforts finally yielded tangible success in 1993, when BST was approved for commercial sale after a frustratingly slow FDA approval process. In the coming years, the development of further biotech products moved to the forefront of Monsanto’s activities, ushering in a period of profound change. Fittingly, the sweeping, strategic alterations to Monsanto’s focus were preceded by a change in leadership, making the last decade of the 20th century one of the most dynamic eras in Monsanto’s history.
Toward the end of 1994, Mahoney announced his retirement, effective the following year in March 1995. As part of the same announcement, Mahoney revealed that Robert B. Shapiro, Monsanto’s president and chief operating officer, would be elected by Monsanto’s board of directors as his successor. Shapiro, who had joined Searle in 1979 before being named executive vice-president of Monsanto in 1990, did not waver from exerting his influence over the company he now found himself presiding over. At the time of his promotion, Shapiro inherited a company that ranked as the largest domestic ACRYLIC manufacturer in the world, generating $3 billion of its $7.9 billion in total revenues from chemical-related sales. This dominant side of Monsanto’s business, representing the foundation upon which it had been built, was eliminated under Shapiro’s stewardship, replaced by a resolute commitment to biotech.
Between the mid-1980s and the mid-1990s, Monsanto had spent approximately $1 billion on developing its biotech business. Although biotech was regarded as a commercially unproven market by some industry analysts, Shapiro pressed forward with the research and development of biotech products, and by the beginning of 1996 he was ready to launch Monsanto’s first biotech product line. Monsanto began marketing herbicide-tolerant GMO soybeans, genetically engineered to resist Monsanto’s PATENTED Roundup herbicide, and insect-resistant GMO BT cotton, beginning with 2,000,000 acres of both crops. By the fall of 1996, there were early indications that the first harvests of genetically engineered crops were performing better than expected (yet WORSE results than traditional and organic crops). News of the encouraging results prompted Shapiro to make a startling announcement in October 1996, when he revealed that Monsanto was considering divesting its chemical business as part of a major reorganization into a life-sciences company.
By the end of 1996, when Shapiro announced he would spin-off the chemical operations as a separate company, Monsanto faced a future without its core business, a $3 billion contributor to Monsanto’s annual revenue volume. Without the chemical operations, Monsanto would be reduced to an approximately $5-billion company deriving half its sales from agricultural products and the rest from pharmaceuticals and food ingredients, but Shapiro did not intend to leave it as such. He foresaw an aggressive push into biotech products, a move that industry pundits generally perceived as astute. “It would be a gamble if they didn’t do it,” commented one analyst in reference to the proposed divestiture. “Monsanto is trying to transform itself into a high-growth agricultural and life sciences company. Low-growth cyclical chemical operations do not fit that bill.” Spurring Shapiro toward this sweeping reinvention of Monsanto were enticing forecasts for the market growth of plant biotech products. A $450 million business in 1995, the market for plant biotech products was expected to reach $2 billion by 2000 and $6 billion by 2005. Shapiro wanted to dominate this fast-growing market as it matured by shaping Monsanto into what he described as the main provider of “Agricultural Biotechnology”.
As preparations were underway for the spin-off of Monsanto’s chemical operations into a new, publicly owned company named Solutia Inc., Shapiro was busy filling the void created by the departure of Monsanto’s core business. A flurry of acquisitions completed between 1995-1997 greatly increased Monsanto’s presence in life sciences, quickly compensating for the revenue lost from the spin-off of Solutia. Among the largest acquisitions were Calgene, Inc., a leader in plant biotech, which was acquired in a two-part transaction in 1995 and 1997, and a 40% interest in Dekalb Genetics Corp., the second-largest seed-corn company in the United States. In 1998, Monsanto acquired the rest of DeKalb, paying $2.3 billion for the Illinois-based company.
By the end of the 1990s, Monsanto bore only partial resemblance to the Monsanto company that entered the decade. The acquisition campaign that added dozens of biotechnology companies to its portfolio had created a new, dominant force in the promising life sciences field, placing Monsanto in a position to reap massive rewards in the years ahead. For example, a rootworm-resistant strain under development had the potential to save $1 billion worth of damages to corn crops per year. Monsanto’s pharmaceutical business also faced a promising future, highlighted by the introduction of a new arthritis medication named Celebrex in 1999. During its first year, Celebrex registered a record number of prescriptions. As Monsanto entered the 21st century, however, there were two uncertainties that loomed as potentially serious obstacles blocking its future success. The acquisition campaign of the mid- and late-1990s had greatly increased Monsanto’s debt, forcing Monsanto to desperately search for cash. Secondly, there was growing opposition to genetically altered crops at the decade’s conclusion, prompting the United Kingdom to ban the yields from GMO crops for a year. A great part of Monsanto’s future success depended on the resolution of these two issues.
Monsanto had a difficult time during 2002. Its share price had been steadily falling and, in spite of an upturn in sales in the fourth quarter, total sales for 2002 were only $4,673m, compared to $5,462m for 2001. The primary causes, according to the company, were lower volumes of RoundUp sales in the U.S. due to drought, lower prices for RoundUp due to it going off-patent and facing increased competition from competitors, and lower sales of RoundUp and seeds in Latin America.
Events in Argentina also affected the company in other ways: Monsanto’s Argentine unit lost $154 million in the 2002 fiscal year, due to the collapse of the Argentine economy and a deepening recession which forced the government to default on most of its public debt, and devalue the peso in January 2002. The government also converted what was a dollar economy into a peso economy and, as a result, Monsanto received devalued pesos for products it had sold in dollars, slashing its sales income.
In December 2002, CEO Hendrik Verfaillie resigned after he and the board agreed that his performance had been disappointing and the company had faced extensive criticism for failing to deal more honestly and effectively with its difficulties. ‘This is a company that has been optimistic on the borderline of lying,’ said Sergey Vasnetsov, senior analyst with Lehman Brothers in New York. ‘Monsanto has been feeding us these fantasies for two years, and when we saw they weren’t real,’ its stock price fell.
In 2009, Monsanto profited about $2 billion. After much controversy… in 2010, Monsanto profits dove 50% to about $1 billion. GMO crops are massively failing, some even seedless at harvest time. Subsidized crops are LOSING MONEY annually. The USDA is calling it a “yield-drag” but we all know the GMOs do NOT outperform organic crops… unless you’re an accountant for Monsanto.
No matter what weaknesses Monsanto has, it is worth bearing in mind the following: Global sales of Roundup herbicide exceed those of the next 6 leading herbicides combined. Monsanto holds the #1 or #2 position in key corn and soybean markets in North America, Latin America, and Asia. Monsanto also holds a leading position in the European wheat market. Monsanto is the world leader in biotechnology crops. Seeds with Monsanto traits accounted for more than 90% of the acres planted worldwide with herbicide-tolerant or insect-resistant traits in 2001.
|1901: Monsanto was founded in St. Louis, Missouri by John Francis Queeny, a 30-year veteran of the pharmaceutical industry. Queeny funded the start-up with capital from Coca-Cola (saccharin). Founder John Francis Queeny named Monsanto Chemical Works after his wife, Olga Mendez Monsanto. Queeny’s father in law was Emmanuel Mendes de Monsanto, wealthy financier of a sugar companyactive in Vieques, Puerto Rico and based in St. Thomas in the Danish West Indies.1902: Monsanto manufactures its first product, the artificial sweetener Saccharin, which Monsanto sold to the Coca-Cola Company. The U.S. government later files suit over the safety of Saccharin – but loses.1904: Queeny persuaded family and friends to invest $15000, Monsanto has strong ties to The Walt Disney Company, it having financial backing from the Order’s Bank of America founded in Jesuit-ruled San Francisco by Italian-American Roman-Catholic Knight of MaltaAmadeo Giannini.1905: Monsanto company was also producing caffeine and vanillinand was beginning to turn a profit.1906: The government’s monopoly on meat regulation began, when in response to public panic resulting from the publication of Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, Teddy Roosevelt signed legislation mandating federal meat inspections. Today, Salatin claims that agricultural regulation favors multinational corporations such as ConAgra and Monsanto because the treasonous science that supports the USDA regulatory framework is paid for by these corporations, which continue to give large grants to leading schools and research facilities.1908: John Francis Queeny leaves his part-time job as the new branch manager of another drug house the Powers-Weightman-Rosegarten Company to become Monsanto’s full-time president.1912: Agriculture again came to the forefront with the creation of the DeKalb County Farm Bureau, one of the first organizations of its kind. In the 1930s the DeKalb AgResearch Corporation (today MONSANTO) marketed its first hybrid seed corn.1914–1918: During WWI, cut off from imported European chemicals, Monsanto was forced to manufacture it’s own, and it’s position as a leading force in the chemical industry was assured. Unable to import foreign supplies from Europe during World War I, Queeny turned to manufacturing his own raw materials. It was then his scientists discovered that the Germans, in anticipation of the war, had ripped out vital pages from their research books which explained various chemical processes.
1917: Monsanto added more and more products: vanillin, caffeine, and drugs used as sedatives and laxatives.
1917: Bayer, The German competition cut prices in an effort to drive Monsanto out of business, but failed. Soon, Monsanto diversified into phenol (a World War I -era antiseptic), and aspirin when Bayer’s German patent expired in 1917. Monsanto began making aspirin, and soon became the largest manufacturer world-wide.
Mar 15, 1918: More than 500 of the 750 employees of the Monsanto Chemical Works, which has big contracts for the Government, went on strike, forcing the plant to dose down.
Aug 15, 1919: Thereafter much of it was declared surplus, and a contract was entered into with the Monsanto Chemical Co., of St. Louis, Mo., by which contract the Director of Sales authorized the Monsanto Co. to sell for the United States its surplus phenol, estimated at 27521242 pounds, for a market price to be fixed from time to time by the representative of the contracting officer of the United States, but with a minimum price of 9 cents a pound.
1919: Monsanto established its presence in Europe by entering into a partnership with Graesser’s Chemical Works at Cefn Mawr near Ruabon, Wales to produce vanillin, salicylic acid, aspirin and later rubber.
|1920s: In its third decade, Monsanto expanded into basic industrial chemicals like sulfuric acidand other chemicals.Jan 5, 1920: The petitioner was authorized to sell two tracts of landin the Common Fields of Cahokia, St. Clair County, containing 2.403 acres and 3.46 acres respectively, to the Monsanto Chemical Works for the sum of $1500.1920-1921: A postwar depression during the early 1920s affected profits, but by the time John Queeny turned over Monsanto to Edgar in 1928 the financial situation was much brighter.1926: Environmental policy was generally governed by local governments, Monsanto Chemical Company founded and incorporated the town of Monsanto, later renamed Sauget, Illinois, to provide a more business friendly environment for one of its chemical plants. For years, the Monsanto plant in Sauget was the nation’s largest producer of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). And although polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were banned in the 1970s, they remain in the water along Dead Creek in Sauget.1927: Monsanto had over 2,000 employees, with offices across the country and in England.1927: Shortly after its initial listing on the New York Stock Exchange, Monsanto moved to acquire 2 chemical companies that specialized in rubber. Other chemicals were added in later years, including detergents.1928: John Queeny’s son Edgar Monsanto Queeny takes over the Monsanto company. Monsanto had gone public, a move that paved the way for future expansion. At this time, Monsanto had 55 shareholders, 1,000 employees, and owned a small company in Britain.1929: Monsanto acquires Rubber Services Laboratories. Charlie Sommer joined Monsanto, and later became president of Monsanto in 1960.
October 1929: The folks at Monsanto Co. fished through their records, but they couldn’t find out why the company’s symbol is MTC. Monsanto went public in October 1929, just a few days before the great stock market crash. Some symbols are holdovers from the 19th century, when telegraph operators used single-letter symbols for the most active stocks to conserve wire space, says the New York Stock Exchange. Mergers, acquisitions and failure have caused many single-letter symbols to change
1929: Monsanto began production of PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) in the United States. PCBs were considered an industrial wonder chemical – an oil that would not burn, was impervious to degradation and had almost limitless applications. Today PCBs are considered one of the gravest chemical threats on the planet. PCBs, widely used as lubricants, hydraulic fluids, cutting oils, waterproof coatings and liquid sealants, are potent carcinogens and have been implicated in reproductive, developmental and immune system disorders. The world’s center of PCB manufacturing was Monsanto’s plant on the outskirts of East St. Louis, Illinois, which has the highest rate of fetal death and immature births in the state.
Monsanto produced PCBs for over 50 years and they are now virtually omnipresent in the blood and tissues of humans and wildlife around the globe – from the polar bears at the north pole to the penguins in Antarctica. These days PCBs are banned from production and some experts say there should be no acceptable level of PCBs allowed in the environment. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says, “PCB has been demonstrated to cause cancer, as well as a variety of other adverse health effects on the immune system, reproductive system, nervous system and endocrine system.” But the evidence of widespread contamination from PCBs and related chemicals has been accumulating from 1965 onwards and internal company papers show that Monsanto knew about the PCB dangers from early on.
The PCB problem was particularly severe in the town of Anniston in Alabama where discharges from the local Monsanto plant meant residents developed PCB levels hundreds or thousands of times the average. As The Washington Post reported, “for nearly 40 years, while producing the now-banned industrial coolants known as PCBs at a local factory, Monsanto Co. routinely discharged toxic waste into a west Anniston creek and dumped millions of pounds of PCBs into oozing open-pit landfills. And thousands of pages of Monsanto documents : many emblazoned with warnings such as ‘CONFIDENTIAL: Read and Destroy’ : show that for decades, the corporate giant concealed what it did and what it knew.”
Ken Cook of the Environmental Working Group says that based on the Monsanto documents made public, Monsanto “knew the truth from the very beginning. They lied about it. They hid the truth from their neighbors.” One Monsanto memo explains their justification: “We can’t afford to lose one dollar of business.” Eventually Monsanto was found guilty of conduct “so outrageous in character and extreme in degree as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency so as to be regarded as atrocious and utterly intolerable in civilized society”.
|1940s: Monsanto had begun focusing on plastics and synthetic fabrics like polystyrene (still widely used in food packagingand other consumer products), which is ranked 5th in the EPA’s 1980s listing of chemicals whose production generates the most total hazardous waste. From the 1940s onwards Monsanto was one of the top 10 US chemical companies.1941: By the time the United States entered World War II, the domestic chemical industry had attained far greater independence from Europe. Monsanto, strengthened by its several acquisitions, was also prepared to produce such strategic materials as phosphates and inorganic chemicals. Most important was Monsanto’s acquisition of a research and development laboratory called Thomas and Hochwalt. The well-known Dayton, Ohio, firm strengthened Monsanto at the time and provided the basis for some of its future achievements in chemical technology. One of its most important discoveries was styrene monomer, a key ingredient in synthetic rubberand a crucial product for the armed forces during the war. Edward J. Bock joined Monsanto in 1941 as an engineer – he rose through the ranks to become a member of the board of directors in 1965 and president in 1968.1943: Massive Texas City plant starts producing synthetic rubberfor the Allies in World War II.1944: Monsanto began manufacturing DDT, along with some 15 other companies. The use of DDT in the U.S. was banned by Congress in 1972.1945: Following WW2, Monsanto championed the use of chemical pesticides in agriculture, and began manufacturing the herbicide 2,4,5-T, which contains dioxin. Monsanto has been accused of covering up or failing to report dioxin contamination in a wide range of its products.1949: Monsanto acquired American Viscose from England’s Courtauld family.|
|1960: Edgar Queeny turned over the chair of Monsanto to Charles Thomas, one of the founders of the research and development laboratory so important to Monsanto. Charlie Sommer, who had joined Monsanto in 1929, became president. According to Monsanto historian Dan Forrestal, “Leadership during the 1960s and early 1970s came principally from … executives whose Monsanto roots ran deep.” Under their combined leadership Monsanto saw several important developments, including the establishment of the Agricultural Chemicals division with focus on herbicides, created to consolidate Monsanto’s diverse agrichemicalproduct lines.1961-1971: Agent Orange was a mixture of 2,4,5-T and 2,4-D and had very high concentrations of dioxin. Agent Orange was by far the most widely used of the so-called “Rainbow Herbicides” employed in the Herbicidal Warfare program as a defoliant during the Vietnam War. Monsanto became one of 10-36 producers of Agent Orange for US Military operations in Vietnam. Dow Chemical and Monsanto were the two largest producers of Agent Orange for the U.S. military. The Agent Orange produced by Monsanto had dioxin levels many times higher than that produced by Dow Chemicals, the other major supplier of Agent Orange to Vietnam. This made Monsanto the key defendant in the lawsuit brought by Vietnam War veterans in the United States, who faced an array of debilitating symptoms attributable to Agent Orange exposure. Agent Orange is later linked to various health problems, including cancer. U.S. Vietnam War veterans have suffered from a host of debilitating symptoms attributable to Agent Orange exposure. Agent Orange contaminated more than 3,000,000 civilians and servicemen. According to Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 4.8 million Vietnamese people were exposed to Agent Orange, resulting in 400,000 deaths and disabilities, plus 500,000 children born with birth defects, leading to calls for Monsanto to be prosecuted for war crimes. Internal Monsanto memos show that Monsanto knew of the problems of dioxin contamination of Agent Orange when it sold it to the U.S. government for use in Vietnam. Look at what the “EFFECTS” of agent orangelook like… keep in mind it was used to remove leaves from the trees where AMERICAN SOLDIERS were breathing, eating, sleeping.1962: Public concern over the environment began to escalate. Ralph Nader’s activities and Rachel Carson’s book Silent Springhad been influential in increasing the U.S. public’s awareness of activities within the chemical industry in the 1960s, and Monsanto responded in several ways to the pressure.1962: Monsanto’s European expansion continued, with Brussels becoming the permanent overseas headquarters.1964: Monsanto changed its name to Monsanto Company in acknowledgment of its diverse product line. The company consisted of 8 divisions, including petroleum, fibers, building materials, and packaging. Edward O’Neal became chairperson (came to Monsanto in 1935 with the acquisition of the Swann Corporation) was the first chair in Monsanto historywho had not first held the post of president.1964: Monsanto introduced “biodegradable” detergents.1965: While working on an ulcer drug in December, James M. Schlatter, a chemist at G.D. Searle & Company, accidentally discovers aspartame, a substance that is 180x sweeter than sugar yet has no calories.
1965: The evidence of widespread contamination from PCBs and related chemicals has been accumulating and internal Monsanto papers show that Monsanto knew about the PCB dangers from early on.
1967: Monsanto entered into a joint venture with IG Farben = the German chemical firm that was the financial core of the Hitler regime, and was the main supplier of Zyklon-B gas to the German government during the extermination phase of the Holocaust; IG Farben was not dissolved until 2003.
1967: Searle began the safety tests on aspartame that were necessary for applying for FDA approval of food additives. Dr. Harold Waisman, a biochemist at the University of Wisconsin, conducts aspartame safety tests on infant monkeys on behalf of the Searle Company. Of the 7 monkeys that were being fed aspartame mixed with milk, 1 monkey DIED and 5 other monkeys had grand mal seizures.
1968: With experts at Monsanto in no doubt that Monsanto’s PCBs were responsible for contamination, Monsanto set up a committee to assess its options. In a paper distributed to only 12 people but which surfaced at the trial in 2002, Monsanto admitted “that the evidence proving the persistence of these compounds and their universal presence as residues in the environment is beyond question … the public and legal pressures to eliminate them to prevent global contamination are inevitable”. Monsanto papers seen by The Guardian newspaper reveal near panic. “The subject is snowballing. Where do we go from here? The alternatives: go out of business; sell the hell out of them as long as we can and do nothing else; try to stay in business; have alternative products”, wrote the recipient of one paper.
1968: Monsanto became the first organization to mass-produce visible LEDs, using gallium arsenide phosphide to produce red LEDs suitable for indicators. Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) ushered in the era of solid-state lights. From 1968 to 1970, sales doubled every few months. Their products (discrete LEDs and seven-segment numeric displays) became the standards of industry. The primary markets then were electronic calculators, digital watches, and digital clocks.
1969: Monsanto wrote a confidential Pollution Abatement Plan which admitted that “the problem involves the entire United States, Canada and sections of Europe, especially the UK and Sweden”.
1969: Monsanto produces Lasso herbicide, better known as Agent Orange, which was used as defoliant by the U.S. Government during the Vietnam War. “[Lasso's] success turns around the struggling Agriculture Division,” Monsanto’s web page reads.
|1970s: Monsanto was a pioneer of optoelectronics in the 1970s. Although Bock had a reputation for being a committed Monsanto executive, several factors contributed to his volatile term as president. Sales were up in 1970, but Bock’s implementation of the 1971 reorganization caused a significant amount of friction among members of the board and senior management. In spite of the fact that this move, in which Monsanto separated the management of raw materials from Monsanto’s subsidiaries, was widely praised by security analysts, Bock resigned from the presidency in February 1972.1970: Cyclamate (the reigning low-calorie artificial sweetener) is pulled off the market in November after some scientists associate it with cancer. Questions are also raised about safety of saccharin, the only other artificial sweetener on the market, leaving the field wide open for aspartame.
December 18, 1970: Searle Company executives lay out a “Food and Drug Sweetener Strategy” that they feel will put the FDA into a positive frame of mind about aspartame. An internal policy memo describes psychological tactics Monsanto should use to bring the FDA into a subconscious spirit of participation” with them on aspartame and get FDA regulators into the “habit of saying Yes.”
1971: Neuroscientist Dr. John Olney (whose pioneering work with monosodium glutamate MSG was responsible for having it removed from baby foods) informs Searle that his studies show that aspartic acid (one of the ingredients of aspartame) caused holes in the brains of infant mice. One of Searle’s own researchers confirmed Dr. Olney’s findings in a similar study.
1972: The use of DDT was banned by U.S. Congress, due in large part to efforts by environmentalists, who persisted in the challenge put forth by Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring in 1962, which sought to inform the public of the side effects associated with the insecticide, which had been much-welcomed in the fight against malaria-transmitting mosquitoes.
1973: Monsanto developed and patented the glyphosate molecule in the 1970s. Monsanto began manufacturing the herbicide Roundup, which has been marketed as a “safe”, general-purpose herbicide for widespread commercial and consumer use, even though its key ingredient, glyphosate, is a highly toxic poison for animals and humans.
1973: After spending tens of millions of dollars conducting safety tests, the G.D. Searle Company applies for FDA approval and submits over 100 studies they claim support aspartame’s safety. One of the first FDA scientists to review the aspartame safety data states that “the information provided (by Searle) is inadequate to permit an evaluation of the potential toxicity of aspartame“. She says in her report that in order to be certain that aspartame is safe, further clinical tests are needed.
1974: Attorney Jim Turner (consumer advocate who was instrumental in getting cyclamate taken off the market) meets with Searle representatives in May to discuss Dr. Olney’s 1971 study which showed that aspartic acid caused holes in the brains of infant mice.
1974: The FDA grants aspartame its first approval for restricted use in dry foods on July 26.
1974: Jim Turner and Dr. John Olney file the first objections against aspartame’s approval in August.
1976: The success of the herbicide Lasso had turned around Monsanto’s struggling Agriculture Division, and by the time Agent Orange was banned in the U.S. and Lasso was facing increasing criticism, Monsanto had developed the weedkiller “Roundup” (active ingredient: glyphosate) as a replacement. Launched in 1976, Roundup helped make Monsanto the world’s largest producer of herbicides. RoundUp was commercialized, and became the world’s top-selling herbicide. Within a few years of its 1976 launch, Roundup was being marketed in 115 countries.
The success of Roundup coincided with the recognition by Monsanto executives that they needed to radically transform a company increasingly under threat. According to a recent paper by Dominic Glover, “Monsanto had acquired a particularly unenviable reputation in this regard, as a major producer of both dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) – both persistent environmental pollutants posing serious risks to the environment and human health. Law suits and environmental clean-up costs began to cut into Monsanto’s bottom line, but more seriously there was a real fear that a serious lapse could potentially bankrupt the company.” According to Glover, Roundup “Sales grew by 20% in 1981 and as the company increased production it was soon Monsanto’s most profitable product (Monsanto 1981, 1983)… It soon became the single most important product of Monsanto’s agriculture division, which contributed about 20% of sales and around 45% of operating income to the company’s balance sheet each year during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Today, glyphosate remains the world’s biggest herbicide by volume of sales.”
1976: Monsanto produces Cycle-Safe, the world’s first plastic soft-drink bottle. The bottle, suspected of posing a cancer risk, is banned the following year by the Food and Drug Administration.
1976: Turner & Olney’s petition on March 24 triggers an FDA investigation of the laboratory practices of aspartame’s manufacturer, G.D. Searle. The investigation finds Searle’s testing procedures shoddy, full of inaccuracies and “manipulated” test data. The investigators report they “had never seen anything as bad as Searle’s testing.”
January 10, 1977: The FDA formally requests the U.S. Attorney’s office to begin grand jury proceedings to investigate whether indictments should be filed against Searle for knowingly misrepresenting findings and “concealing material facts and making false statements” in aspartame safety tests. This is the first time in the FDA’s history that they request a criminal investigation of a manufacturer.
January 26, 1977: While the grand jury probe is underway, Sidley & Austin, the law firm representing Searle, begins job negotiations with the U.S. Attorney in charge of the investigation, Samuel Skinner.
July 1, 1977: Samuel Skinner leaves the U.S. Attorney’s office on July 1st and takes a job with Searle’s law firm. (see Jan. 26th)
August 1, 1977: The Bressler Report, compiled by FDA investigators and headed by Jerome Bressler, is released. The report finds that 98 of the 196 animals died during one of Searle’s studies and weren’t autopsied until later dates, in some cases over one year after death. Many other errors and inconsistencies are noted. For example, a rat was reported alive, then dead, then alive, then dead again; a mass, a uterine polyp, and ovarian neoplasms were found in animals but not reported or diagnosed in Searle’s reports.
December 8, 1977: U.S. Attorney Skinner’s withdrawal and resignation stalls the Searle grand jury investigation for so long that the statue of limitations on the aspartame charges runs out. The grand jury investigation is dropped. (borderline treason)
|1980: September 30, FDA Board of Inquiry comprised of 3 independent scientists, confirmed that aspartame “might induce brain tumors”. The Public Board of Inquiry concludes NutraSweet should not be approved pending further investigations of brain tumors in animals. The board states it “has NOT been presented with proof of reasonable certainty that aspartame is safe for use as a food additive.” The FDA had actually banned aspartame based on this finding, only to have Searle Chairman Donald Rumsfeld (Ford’s Secretary of Defense 1975-1977, Bush’s Secretary of Defense 2001-2006) vow to “call in his markers,” to get it approved in 1981.1980: Monsanto established the Edgar Monsanto Queeny safety award in honor of its former CEO (1928–1960), to encourage accident prevention.January 1981: Donald Rumsfeld, CEO of Searle, states in a sales meeting that he is going to make a big push to get aspartameapproved within the year. Rumsfeld says he will use his political pull in Washington, rather than scientific means, to make sure it gets approved.May 19, 1981: 3 of 6 in-house FDA scientists who were responsible for reviewing the brain tumor issues, Dr. Robert Condon, Dr. Satya Dubey, and Dr. Douglas Park, advise against approval of NutraSweet, stating on the record that the Searle tests are unreliable and not adequate to determine the safety of aspartame.1981: Ronald Reagan is sworn in as President of the United States. Reagan’s transition team, which includes Donald Rumsfeld, CEO of G. D. Searle, hand picks Dr. Arthur Hull Hayes Jr. to be the new FDA Commissioner. On January 21, the day after Ronald Reagan’s inauguration, GD Searle re-applied to the FDA for approval to use aspartame in food sweetener, and Reagan’s new FDA commissioner, Arthur Hayes Hull, Jr., appointed a 5-person Scientific Commission to review the board of inquiry’s decision. It soon became clear that the panel would uphold the ban by a 3-2 decision, but Hull then installed a 6th member on the commission, and the vote became deadlocked. He then personally broke the tie in aspartame’s favor. Hull later left the FDA under allegations of impropriety, served briefly as Provost at New York Medical College, and then took a position with Burston-Marsteller, the chief public relations firm for both Monsantoand GD Searle. Since that time Hull has never spoken publicly about aspartame.July 15, 1981: In one of his first official acts, Dr. Arthur Hayes Jr., the new FDA commissioner, overrules the Public Board of Inquiry, ignores the recommendations of his own internal FDA team and approves NutraSweet for dry products. Hayes says that aspartame has been shown to be safe for its’ proposed uses and says few compounds have withstood such detailed testing and repeated close scrutiny. G.D. Searle gets FDA approval for aspartame (NutraSweet). Monsanto completes its acquisition of Searle in 1985.1982: Monsanto GMO scientists genetically modify a plant cell for the first time!1982: Some 2,000 people are relocated from Times Beach, Missouri, which was found to be so thoroughly contaminated with dioxin, a by-product of PCB manufacturing, that the government ordered it evacuated. Dioxins are endocrine and immune system disruptors, cause congenital birth defects, reproductive and developmental problems, and increase the incidence of cancer, heart disease and diabetes in laboratory animals. Critics say a St. Louis-area Monsanto chemical plant was a source but Monsanto denies any connection.
October 15, 1982: The FDA announces that GD Searle has filed a petition that aspartame be approved as a sweetener in carbonated beverages and other liquids.
July 1, 1983: The National Soft Drink Association (NSDA) urges the FDA to delay approval of aspartame for carbonated beverages pending further testing because aspartame is very unstable in liquid form. When liquid aspartame is stored in temperatures above 85°F degrees Fahrenheit, aspartame breaks down into known toxins Diketopiperazines (DKP), methyl (wood) alcohol, and formaldehyde.
July 8, 1983: The National Soft Drink Association drafts an objection to the final ruling which permits the use of aspartame in carbonated beverages and syrup bases and requests a hearing on the objections. The association says that Searle has not provided responsible certainty that aspartame and its’ degradation products are safe for use in soft drinks.
August 8, 1983: Consumer Attorney, Jim Turner of the Community Nutrition Institute and Dr. Woodrow Monte, Arizona State University’s Director of Food Science and Nutritional Laboratories, file suit with the FDA objecting to aspartame approval based on unresolved safety issues.
September, 1983: FDA Commissioner Hayes resigns under a cloud of controversy about his taking unauthorized rides aboard a General Foods jet. (General foods is a major customer of NutraSweet) Burson-Marsteller, Searle‘s public relation firm (which also represented several of NutraSweet’s major users), immediately hires Hayes as senior scientific consultant.
Fall 1983: The first carbonated beverages containing aspartame are sold for public consumption.
1983: Diet Coke was sweetened with aspartame after the sweetener became available in the United States.
1985: Monsanto purchased G.D. Searle, the chemical company that held the patent to aspartame, the active ingredient in NutraSweet. Monsanto was apparently untroubled by aspartame’s clouded past, including a 1980 FDA Board of Inquiry, comprised of three independent scientists, which confirmed that it “might induce brain tumors”. The aspartame business became a separate Monsanto subsidiary, the NutraSweet Company.
1986: Monsanto found guilty of negligently exposing a worker to benzene at its Chocolate Bayou Plant in Texas. It is forced to pay $100 million to the family of Wilbur Jack Skeen, a worker who died of leukemia after repeated exposures.
1986: At a congressional hearing, medical specialists denounce a National Cancer Institute study disputing that formaldehyde causes cancer. Monsanto and DuPont scientists helped with the study, whose author provided results to the Formaldehyde Institute industry representatives nearly six months before releasing the study to the EPA, labor unions, and the public.
1986: Monsanto spends $50,000 against California’s anti-toxics initiative, Proposition 65. The initiative prohibits the discharge of chemicals known to cause cancer or birth defects into drinking water supplies.
1987: Monsanto conducted the first field tests of genetically engineered (GMO) crops.
1987: Monsanto is one of the companies named in an $180 million settlement for Vietnam War veterans exposed to Agent Orange.
1987: Monsanto consolidated its AstroTurf management, marketing, and technical activities in Dalton, Georgia, as AstroTurf Industries, Inc.
November 3, 1987: U.S. hearing, “NutraSweet: Health and Safety Concerns,” Committee on Labor and Human Resources, Senator Howard Metzenbaum, chairman.
1988: A federal jury finds Monsanto Co.’s subsidiary, G.D. Searle & Co., negligent in testing and marketing of its Copper 7 intrauterine birth control device (IUD). The verdict followed the unsealing of internal documents regarding safety concerns about the IUD, which was used by nearly 10 million women between 1974 and 1986.
|1990: EPA chemists allege fraud in Monsanto’s 1979 dioxin study, which found exposure to the chemical doesn’t increase cancer risks.1990: Monsanto spends more than $405,000 to defeat California’s pesticide regulation Proposition 128, known as the “Big Green” initiative. The initiative is aimed at phasing out the use of pesticides, including Monsanto’s product alachlor, linked to cancer and
1995: Monsanto ranked 5th among U.S. corporations in EPA’s Toxic Release Inventory, having discharged 37 million pounds of toxic chemicals into the air, land, water and underground. Monsanto was ordered to pay $41.1 million to a waste management company in Texas due to concerns over hazardous waste dumping.
1995: The Safe Shoppers Bible says that Monsanto’s Ortho Weed-B-Gon Lawn Weed Killer contains a known carcinogen, 2,4 D. Monsanto officials argue that ‘numerous studies have found no link to cancer’.
As Monsanto had moved into biotechnology, its executives had the opportunity to create a new narrative for Monsanto. They begun to portray genetic engineering as a ground-breaking technology that could contribute to feeding a hungry world. Monsanto executive Robb Fraley, who was head of the plant molecular biology research team, is also said to have hyped the potential of GMO crops within the company, as a once-in-a-generation opportunity for Monsanto to dominate a whole new industry, invoking the monopoly success of Microsoft as a powerful analogy. But, according to Glover, the more down-to-earth pitch to fellow executives was that “genetic engineering offered the best prospect of preserving the commercial life of Monsanto’s most important product, Roundup in the face of the challenges Monsanto would face once the patent expired.”
Monsanto eventually achieved this by introducing into crop plants genes that give resistance to glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup). This meant farmers could spray Roundup onto their fields as a weedkiller even during the growing season without harming the crop. This allowed Monsanto to “significantly expand the market for Roundup and, more importantly, help Monsanto to negotiate the expiry of its glyphosate patents, on which such a large slice of Monsanto’s income depended.” With glyphosate-tolerant GMO crops, Monsanto was able ìto preserve its dominant share of the glyphosate market through a marketing strategy that would couple proprietary “Roundup Ready” seeds with continued sales of Roundup.
1996-1999: Monsanto sold off its plastics business to Bayer in 1996, and its phenylalanine facilities to Great Lakes Chemical Corporation (GLC) in 1999. Much of the rest of its chemicals division was spun off in late 1997 as Solutia. This helped Monsanto distance itself to some extent not only from direct financial liability for the historical core of its business but also from its controversial production and contamination legacy.
1997: Monsanto spins off its industrial chemical and fibers business into Solutia Inc. amid complaints and legal claims about pollution from its plants. Solutia was spun off from Monsanto as a way for Monsanto to divest itself of billions of dollars in environmental cleanup costs and other liabilities for its past actions – liabilities that eventually forced Solutia to seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy. According to a spokesman for Solutia, “(Monsanto) sort of cherry-picked what they wanted and threw in all kinds of cats and dogs as part of a going-away present,” including $1 billion in debt and environmental and litigation costs. Some pre-bankruptcy Solutia equity holders allege Solutia was set up fraudulently as it was always doomed to fail under the financial weight of Monsanto’s liabilities.
1997: The New York State Attorney General took Monsanto to court and Monsanto was subsequently forced to stop claiming that Roundup is “biodegradable” and “environmentally friendly”.
1997: The Seattle Times reports that Monsanto sold 6,000 tons of contaminated waste to Idaho fertilizer companies, which contained the carcinogenic heavy metal cadmium, believed to cause cancer, kidney disease, neurological dysfunction and birth defects.
1997: Through a process of mergers and spin-offs between 1997 and 2002, Monsanto made a transition from chemical giant to biotech giant. Monsanto’s corporate strategy led them for the first time to acquire seed companies. During the 1990s Monsanto spent $10 billion globally buying up seed companies – a push that continues to this day. It has purchased, for example, Holden’s Foundations Seeds, Seminis – the largest seed company not producing corn or soybeans in the world, the Dutch seed company De Ruiter Seeds, and the big cotton seed firm Delta & Pine. As a result, Monsanto is now the world’s largest seed company, accounting for almost a quarter of the global proprietary seed market.
1998: In the UK, Monsanto purchased the seed company Plant Breeding International (PBI) Cambridge, a major UK based cereals and potato breeder, which Monsanto then merged with its existing UK agri-chemicals and GMO research businesses to form Monsanto UK Ltd. Monsanto UK has carried out field trials of glyphosate-tolerant sugar / fodder beet, glyphosate-tolerant oilseed rape, and glyphosate-tolerant and male sterility / fertility restorer oilseed rape.
1998: “Survey of aspartame studies: correlation of outcome and funding sources,” unpublished: Ralph G. Walton found 166 separate published studies in the peer reviewed medical literature, which had relevance for questions of human safety. The 74 studies funded by industry all (100%) attested to aspartame’s safety, whereas of the 92 non-industry funded studies, 84 (91%) identified a problem. 6 of the 7 non-industry funded studies that were favorable to aspartame safety were from the FDA, which has a public record that shows a strong pro-industry bias.
1999: Monsanto opens its Beautiful Sciences exhibit at Disneyland.
1999: Monsanto sells their phenylalanine facilities to Great Lakes Chemical Corporation (GLC) for $125 million. In 2000, GLC sued Monsanto because of a $71 million dollar shortfall in expected sales.
|2000: 5 pesticide companies, including Monsanto, controlled over 70% of all patents on agricultural biotechnology. Monsanto had the largest share of the global GMOcrops market.2000: Since the inception of Plan Colombia, the US has spent hundreds of millions of dollars in funding aerial sprayings of Monsanto’s Roundup herbicides in Colombia. The Roundup is often applied in concentrations 26x higher than what is recommended for agricultural use. Additionally, it contains at least one surfactant, Cosmo-Flux 411f, whose ingredients are a trade secret, has never been approved for use in the US, and which quadruples the biological action of the herbicide. Not surprisingly, numerous human health impacts have been recorded in the areas affected by the sprayings, including respiratory, gastrointestinal and skin problems, and even death, especially in children. Additionally, fish and animals will show up deadin the hours and days subsequent to the herbicide sprayings.2000-2002: Monsanto merges with Pharmacia & Upjohn, and changes its name to Pharmacia Corporation. Monsanto Company restructures in deal with Pharmacia & Upjohn Inc; separates agricultural and chemicals businesses and becomes stand-alone agricultural company. By 2000 the current Monsanto had emerged from various transactions, including a merger for a time with Pharmacia, as a legally different corporation from the Monsanto that had existed from 1901-2000. This was despite the fact that both Monsantos shared not just the same name, but the same corporate headquarters near St. Louis, Missouri, and many of the same executives and other employees, not to mention much of the responsibility for liabilitiesarising out of its former activities.2001: Retired Monsanto chemist William S. Knowleswas 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.2001: Monsanto GMO crops accounted for 91% of the total area of GMO crops planted worldwide.2002: Monsanto entered into an important agreement with DuPont. As a result of this “agreement” both companies agreed to drop a raft of outstanding patent lawsuits against one another and to share their patented GMO crops technologies. Some commentators see this ‘agreement’ as constituting a pseudo-merger by stealth of the two companies’ GMO crops monopolies which are too large to be permitted to merge.August 13, 2002: Monsanto had sales of $4,673,000,000. Based on 2001 figures Monsanto was the second biggest seed company in the world, and the third biggest agrochemical company. The infamous agrochemical and biotechnology division, still known as Monsanto, was spun off as a nominally separate company with Pharmacia originally retaining an 85% share. Monsanto Company became completely separate and independent from Pharmacia on August 13, 2002, when Pharmacia distributed its remaining Monsanto shares to Pharmacia’s stockholders.2002: Events in Argentina also affected the company in other ways: Monsanto’s Argentine unit lost $154 million in the 2002 fiscal year, due to the collapse of the Argentine economy and a deepening recession which forced the government to default on most of its public debt, and devalue the peso in January 2002. The government also converted what was a dollar economy into a peso economy and, as a result, Monsanto received devalued pesos for products it had sold in dollars, slashing its sales income.
2002: The Washington Post ran an article entitled, “Monsanto Hid Decades Of Pollution, PCBs Drenched Alabama Town, But No One Was Ever Told” about PCBs. Monsanto share price plummeted in the second half of 2002 following its sell off by former parent company Pharmacia and this was compounded by the departure of Monsanto’s CEO at the end of 2002.
December 2002: CEO Hendrik Verfaillie resigned after he and the board agreed that his performance had been disappointing and the company had faced extensive criticism for failing to deal more honestly and effectively with its difficulties. “This is a company that has been optimistic on the borderline of LYING,” said Sergey Vasnetsov, senior analyst with Lehman Brothers in New York. “Monsanto has been feeding us these FANTASIES for two years, and when we saw they weren’t real, its stock price fell.”
2003: Jury fines Monsanto and its former chemical subsidiary, Solutia, Inc. (now owned by Pharmacia Corp.), agreed to pay $600 million in August to settle claims brought by more than 20,000+ residents of Anniston, Alabama – over the severe contamination of ground and water by tons of PCBs dumped in the area from the 1930s until the 1970s. Court documents revealed that Monsanto was aware of the contamination decades earlier.
2003: Solutia, Inc. (now owned by Pharmacia Corp.) files Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
2004-2005: Monsanto 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 some cases, farmers claimed the seed was unknowingly sown by wind carrying the seeds from neighboring crops, a claim rejected in Monsanto Canada Inc. v. Schmeiser. 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 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 patent.” With this ruling, the Canadian courts followed the U.S. Supreme Court in its decision on patent issues involving plants and genes.
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. 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.
2005: Environmental, consumer groups question safety of Roundup Ready crops, say they create “super weeds,” among other problems.
2006: In January, the South Korean Appeals Court ordered Dow Chemical and Monsanto to pay $62 million in compensation to about 6,800 people.
2006: Organic farmers, concerned about the impact of GMO alfalfa on their crops, sued Monsanto (Monsanto Company vs. Geertson Seed Farms). In response, in May 2007, the California Northern District Court issued an injunction order prohibiting farmers from planting Roundup Ready alfalfa until the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) completed a study on the genetically engineered crop’s likely environmental impact. As a result, the USDA put a hold on any further planting of Roundup Ready alfalfa.
2006: the Public Patent Foundation filed requests with the United States Patent and Trademark Office to revoke 4 patents that Monsanto has used in patent lawsuits against farmers. In the first round of reexamination, claims in all 4 patents were rejected by the Patent Office in 4 separate rulings dating from February through July 2007. Monsanto has since filed responses in the reexaminations.
2006-2007: Monsanto buys several regional seed companies and cotton seed leader Delta and Pine Land Co. – Competitors allege Monsanto gaining seed industry monopoly.
2007: Monsanto’s biotech seeds and traits (including those licensed to other companies) accounted for almost 90% of the total world area devoted toGMOseeds.
2007: California Northern District Court issued an injunction order prohibiting farmers from planting Roundup Ready alfalfa until the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) completed a study on the genetically engineered crop’s likely environmental impact. As a result, the USDA put a hold on any further planting of Roundup Ready alfalfa.
2007: USDA Dairy Survey estimated rBGH use at 15.2% of operations and 17.2% of cows.
2008: Acquires sugarcane breeding companies, and a Dutch hybrid seed company.
2008-2009: U.S. Department of Justice says it is looking into monopolistic power in the U.S. seed industry.
2009: Monsanto announces a project to improve the living conditions of 10,000 small cotton and corn farmers in 1,100 villages in India (keep in mind that 100,000 small cotton farmers in India commit suicide by drinking Roundup AFTER massive GMO crop failures bankrupted their families); donates cotton technology to academic researchers.
2010: Farmers in South Africa report 80% of the GMO corn was SEEDLESS at harvest time!
2010: Monsanto was named company of the year by Forbes magazine in January.
|2010: Demand for milk without using synthetic hormones has increased 500% in the US since Monsanto introduced their rBST product. Monsanto has responded to this trend by lobbying state governments to ban the practice of distinguishing between milk from farms pledged not to use rBSTand those that do.2011: Monsanto posts net income of $1 billion for fiscal 2010. OUCH! a 50% loss from 2009.Today, over 80% of the worldwide area devoted to GMO crops carries at least one genetic trait for (Monsanto’s Roundup) herbicide tolerance. Herbicides account for about one-third of the global pesticide market. Monsanto’s glyphosate-resistant (Roundup Ready) seeds have reigned supreme on the biotech scene for over a decade – creating a near-monopoly for Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide – which is now off patent. Roundup is the world’s biggest selling pesticide and it has helped make Monsanto the world’s 5th largest agrochemical company.Learn More About MonsantoTop 10 Facts About MonsantoHow Aspartame Became Legal – The Timeline|
The Future of GMO Crops: Wheat for Humans
Monsanto’s strategy is based around genetically modifying SUBSIDIZED commodity crops, and refining technologies which it already has commercialized. Monsanto is continuing to develop genetically modified traits that can be stacked in a single seed product, along with Roundup Ready tolerance to provide continuing sales for the herbicide.
The most important new product Monsanto is trying to introduce is RoundUp Ready wheat. This has caused an unexpected level of debate in the USA, generally because it is the first major GMO crop which would be used predominantly for products to be consumed by humans rather than as animal feed. Wheat is also a vital export crop for the USA, which currently holds 26-28% of the world market share. The EU was the fourth largest importer of U.S. wheat overall in 2001, and although this position may diminish due to new EU rules on imports, it would nevertheless be extremely serious for the USA to virtually lose the EU market for its wheat, which is a real possibility if GMO wheat is commercialized.
As well as wheat, Monsanto is mainly concentrating on different traits in crops which it has already worked with. The majority of its field trials in the USA during the last two years have involved corn, altered to exhibit various traits.
Monsanto is also involved in a joint venture with Cargill Renessen, which is currently developing the following GMO crops: Improved-oil soybeans for feed, Three kinds of improved-energy corn (maize) for feed Healthier oil for food uses, Improved-protein soybeans for feed, High-starch/ethanol corn (maize), Processor Preferred soybeans.
Herbicide-tolerant (RoundUp Ready) varieties continue to play a large part in Monsanto’s plans, showing that although these are extremely easy to reject due to their obvious benefits to corporations and lack of benefits to humans, Monsanto believes that there is still a large potential for their GMOs.
|Monsanto’s Dark HistoryMonsanto News WatchdogTop 10 Facts About MonsantoMonsanto Historical Timeline on GoogleMonsanto’s Sordid Historyfrom the Center for Food SafetyGMWatch has compiled information on how Monsanto is trying to force-feed GMO food to the world.“A Monsanto History” (2004) was published by CropChoice.orgThe Organic Consumers Association Monsanto page also has lots of Monsanto history
The ETC Group publishes reports on the global seed oligopoly
“A Checkered History” by Brian Tokar (The Ecologist, 1998)
Mindfully.org has a useful page called “Monsanto Roundup“
please ask if you want more resources…
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Full List of BestMeal.info Video Channels:
- REAL, Organic Farmers Sue Monsanto (mendonews.wordpress.com)
- Organic food under threat from Monsanto (rogerblobaum.com)
- Monstanto Buys Influence In Universities (misbehavedwoman.wordpress.com)
- If You buy ROUND UP you are helping to build Monsanto’s income while destroying our agriculture. (underthelobsterscope.wordpress.com)
- The World According to Monsanto (zahirah.com)