Monsanto

Page - April 7, 2005
Monsanto is the world's leading producer of GE seeds - about 70 percent of all GE crops grown worldwide derive from Monsanto technology.

Monsanto produces Roundup Ready soy and cotton, Agent Orange and recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone.

The company was purchased by Pharmacia in March 2000, but in late 2001 Pharmacia announced that it would divest itself of Monsanto's agbiotech operations, which would retain the Monsanto name and operate independently. Prior to the Pharmacia merger, Monsanto had similarly divested itself of its chemicals division, which became the company now known as Solutia. By spinning off Solutia. Monsanto is attempting to evade responsibility for decades of its toxic operations.

As it did with toxic chemicals, the "new" Monsanto is putting GE foods on the market without concern for the potential health or environmental risks. Monsanto's "Roundup Ready" brand crops are genetically engineered to tolerate high doses of its best selling product - the toxic weed killer Roundup (glyphosate). Roundup Ready crops currently include soy, corn, canola and cotton, and Monsanto is trying to bring more Roundup Ready crops to market, including wheat and rice.

Monsanto owns or is affiliated with the largest seed developers and research companies all over the world, including:

  • Calgene - Biotechnology company responsible for the Flavr Savr Tomato, the first GE crop marketed in the United States. Calgene also developed technology used in GE cotton and canola.
  • DeKalb Seed Company - has 11 percent of the U.S. corn seed market; Hybritech Seed International, a leading United States-based wheat seed producer, was formed by Monsanto from DeKalb's wheat research.
  • Holden's Foundation Seeds - 35 percent of U.S. corn acres are grown from seed produced with Holden genetics, that focuses on "value-added" traits, such as high-oil production or insect resistance (produced by adding a toxin gene). Companies like DuPont and Plant Genetic Systems (Bt corn developers) purchase the parent seeds from Holden and then develop the crops.
  • Asgrow Seed Company - produces Monsanto's soybean seeds (Asgrow Vegetable Seeds remains part of Mexico's Savia, owner of Seminis Vegetable Seeds (one of the largest seed producers in the world). Monsanto, does, however, maintain a collaborative relationship with Seminis to produce GE vegetables).
  • First Line Seeds - a Canadian soybean seed company.
  • Plant Breeding International Cambridge (PBIC) - which has established breeding programs for several crops, including winter wheat, barley, oilseed rape and potatoes. PBIC facilities are located in Britain, France and Germany.
  • Monsoy - a leading Brazilian soybean seed supplier.
  • Sementes Agroceres - a leading Brazilian corn seed supplier.
  • Agracetus - a research company that is currently developing pharmaceutical crops (pharm crops are GE crops designed to produce a drug or other non-food product).
  • Cereon Genomics - a Monsanto subsidiary focusing on plant gene sequencing.
  • Monsanto also bought Cargill's International (not U.S.) Seed Division, and has a 50/50 venture with Cargill called Renessen, to produce and distribute biotech crops (in particular, nutritionally enhanced oilseeds) worldwide.
  • Monsanto also owns, or co-owns, the Indian biotech crop companies MAHYCO (Maharashtra Hybrid Company), EID Parry and Rallis, and the Philippine seed company AgroSeed.
  • Monsanto and Delta & Pine Land (DPL), the world's largest cotton seed company, collaborated to bring GE cotton (Roundup Ready herbicide resistant and insect resistant varieties) to market. Also, DPL continues to hold the rights to sell Monsanto seed in several countries. Due to anti-trust concerns, Monsanto was blocked from buying DPL in 1998, but the two companies continue to collaborate on GE cotton. In a collaboration with the USDA, DPL also developed and holds the rights to the notorious "terminator" technology.