Other Companies

Page - April 7, 2005
Monsanto makes up a staggering 91 percent of the GE market. However the following companies also contribute to this unnatural food supply.

Genetic Engineering involves creating foods that could never occur naturally.

Bayer

Bayer CropScience, a unit of the German company Bayer AG, became a leading GE crop producer with its purchase of Aventis in the fall of 2001. Aventis was formed by the merger of the French chemical giant Rhone-Poulenc and Germany's Hoeschst/Schering (including AgrEvo). When environmentalists in the United States discovered that an unapproved Aventis GE corn called StarLink had illegally contaminated the food supply, hundreds of products in supermarkets across the country were recalled. The costs of compensating farmers, grain buyers, food companies and consumers from StarLink losses were estimated at nearly $1 billion, and made the company ripe for the Bayer takeover. Aventis also brought to Bayer the formerly independent Belgian biotech company Plant Genetic Systems, India's Proagro and Nunhems (Sunseeds in North America), which is the world's fourth largest vegetable seed producer. With the Aventis buy-out, Bayer becomes the world's number two pesticide maker (after Syngenta, see below).

Bayer now sells Aventis' major biotech crops under the brand name Liberty Link (corn, soybeans and rice). Liberty Link crops are engineered to tolerate high doses of the company's toxic herbicide called Liberty (glufosinate).

Syngenta

Formed by the merger of the crop biotech units of the Swiss Novartis (which itself was formed as the merger of chemical and pharmaceutical giants Ciba-Geigy and Sandoz) and AstraZeneca (Zeneca was formerly the pharmaceutical and agrochemical unit of Britain's Imperial Chemical Industries, Astra a Swedish pharmaceutical firm). The Novartis name is still used on some drugs and consumer products - these products were not part of the merger.

Syngenta is the world's number one pesticide maker and number one biotech patent holder. The company's pesticides include atrazine, a probable human carcinogen, chlorothalonil and clodinafop, listed as probable carcinogens and paraquat. It holds Advanta (itself a joint venture of Zeneca and the Dutch Vanderhave), one of the world's largest seed producers, Garst Seed Company (the leading distributor of StarLink corn seed), Northrup King and other major seed firms. Novartis' Gerber baby foods and other consumer food divisions told Greenpeace in August 2000 that they would not use GE ingredients in any of their products.

Dupont/Pioneer

DuPont, already the world's largest chemical company, bought Pioneer Hi-Bred International, making it the world's largest seed company as well (Pioneer alone was the largest in the United States). Pioneer controls 42 percent of the U.S. corn seed market and 16 percent of the soybean seed market. Pioneer also produces alfalfa, canola, sorghum, sunflower and wheat seed.

One of the leading producers of GE insect resistant "Bt" crops, Pioneer has also collaborated with Dow on a new Bt corn variety. Pioneer owns dozens of seed production and over 100 research facilities worldwide. DuPont's Protein Technologies International, one of the world's leading soy protein suppliers, and Optimum Quality Grains are developing GE crops with enhanced nutrition for animal feed or food products. DuPont also owns the hybrid wheat-seed company, Hybrinova S.A.

DuPont's biotech strategy focuses on "second generation" crops: most of these crops have yet to come to market, and will feature food industry "output traits" rather than farm-driven "input traits." For example, Roundup Ready crops are marketed for purported benefits to farmers, just as other farm inputs (pesticides). DuPont will instead focus on crops with traits such as more nutritional soybeans - purportedly to benefit consumers.

Dow/Mycogen

Dow/Mycogen is the GE crop division of Dow Chemical, the world's fifth largest chemical company. Dow also markets GE seeds under the Phytogen brand name. In 1998, Dow formed a new company, Advanced Agri-Traits, to coordinate strategic alliances for the biotech industry.

Dow/Mycogen makes insect-resistant Bt crops and jointly developed herbicide tolerant crops with Rhone Poulenc (now Bayer). It also bought Illinois Foundation Seeds, providing Dow with about 12 percent of the U.S. corn seed market.

Dow/Mycogen also owns Wisconsin-based Agrigenetics and Brazil's Dinamilho Carol Productos Agricolas, Hibridos Colorado Seed and FT Biogenetica de Milho. In 2001, Dow purchased the chemical company Rohm and Haas', maker of Morton table salt.

BASF

The German agrichemical company is also invested in crop biotech with its subsidiary GE development companies Metanomics and SunGene. BASF's agbiotech unit is based in the United States, at Research Triangle Park in North Carolina. BASF owns crop biotech developer Cyanamid (American Cyanamid), and also owns 40 percent of Swedish seed giant Svalöf Weibull.

Exelixis

Formerly Agritope, the company has an agbiotech alliance focusing on insect resistant crops with Bayer called GenOptera, and a 50/50 GE crop development project with Aventis (acquired by Bayer as part of the Aventis acquisition), called Agrinomics. Exelixis also has joint projects with Pharmacia and other companies.

Exelixis also combines with Harris Moran Seed Company, a subsidiary of the French company Vilmorin, Clause & Cie (the seed unit of Limagrain), in developing biotech melon varieties.

Limagrain

A French owned company specializing in developing GE vegetables seeds. Limagrain owns United States-based Biotechnica Agriculture and French seed maker Vilmorin, Clause & Cie, owner of Harris Moran.

Takii & Company

Takii & Company is a Japanese seed giant, developing GE fruit and vegetables.