MONSATAN: a Monsanto Documentary
The Monsanto Company was an American agrochemical and agricultural biotechnology corporation founded in 1901. In 2018, it was acquired by Bayer as part of its crop science division. It was headquartered in Creve Coeur, Missouri. Monsanto developed Roundup, a glyphosate-based herbicide, in the 1970s, and became a major producer of genetically engineered crops.
Monsanto was one of four groups to introduce genes into plants in 1983, and was among the first to conduct field trials of genetically modified crops in 1987. It was one of the top 10 US chemical companies until it divested most of its chemical businesses between 1997 and 2002, through a process of mergers and spin-offs that focused the company on biotechnology. Monsanto was one of the first companies to apply the biotechnology industry business model to agriculture, using techniques developed by biotech drug companies. In this business model, companies recoup R&D expenses by exploiting biological patents.
Monsanto's roles in agricultural changes, biotechnology products, lobbying of government agencies, and roots as a chemical company, resulted in controversies. The company once manufactured controversial products such as the insecticide DDT, PCBs, Agent Orange, and recombinant bovine growth hormone. Its seed patenting model was criticized as biopiracy and a threat to biodiversity as invasive species.
In September 2016, Bayer announced its intent to acquire Monsanto for US$66 billion. After gaining US and EU regulatory approval, the sale was completed on June 7, 2018 where the name Monsanto was no longer used, but Monsanto's previous product brand names were maintained. The company ranked 199th on the 2018 Fortune 500 of the largest United States corporations by revenue.
In the US regulatory environment, many individuals move back and forth between positions in the public and private sectors, including at Monsanto. Critics argued that the connections between the company and the government allowed Monsanto to obtain favorable regulations at the expense of consumer safety. Supporters of the practice point to the benefits of competent and experienced individuals in both sectors and to the importance of appropriately managing potential conflicts of interest.
The list of such people includes:
Linda J. Fisher—EPA assistant administrator, then Monsanto VP from 1995 to 2000. then EPA deputy administrator.
Michael A. Friedman, MD—FDA deputy commissioner.
Earle H. Harbison Jr., Central Intelligence Agency Deputy Director, then President, Chief Operating Officer, and Director, from 1986 to 1993.
Robert Holifield—chief of staff of Senate Agriculture Committee, then partner in Lincoln Policy Group.
Mickey Kantor—US trade representative, then Monsanto board member.
Blanche Lincoln—US Senator and chair of Agriculture Committee, then founder of lobbying firm Lincoln Policy Group
William D. Ruckelshaus—EPA Administrator, then acting Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and then Deputy Attorney General of the United States, then EPA administrator, then Monsanto Board member.
Donald Rumsfeld—Secretary of Defense and previous secretary of Searle, a Monsanto subsidiary, for 8 years.
Michael R. Taylor—assistant to the FDA commissioner, then attorney for King & Spalding, then FDA deputy commissioner for policy on food safety between 1991 and 1994. He was cleared of conflict of interest accusations. Then he became Monsanto's VP for Public Policy, becoming Senior Advisor to the FDA Commissioner for the Obama administration.
Clarence Thomas—Supreme Court Justice who worked as an attorney for Monsanto in the 1970s, then wrote the majority opinion in J. E. M. Ag Supply, Inc. v. Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc. finding that "newly developed plant breeds are patentable under the general utility patent laws of the United States."
Ann Veneman—Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, and member of the board of directors of Calgene.
|Sensitivity||Normal - Content that is suitable for ages 16 and over|
1 year, 10 months ago
1 day, 5 hours ago
Warning - This video exceeds your sensitivity preference!
To dismiss this warning and continue to watch the video please click on the button below.
Note - Autoplay has been disabled for this video.