Monsanto, Genetic Pollution and Monopolism

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The Issue

Because Monsanto's engineered genes can readily migrate to non-GM crops (see Monsanto and the Roundup Ready Controversy) organic farms are increasingly finding that via cross-pollination their pure food has been contaminated with GM DNA thus ruining their businesses [1] [2]. "In 2002, Ontario farmer Alex Nurnberg had tests conducted on his 100-ton harvest of organic corn. Twenty tons were found to be contaminated by GMOs, which Nurnberg believes were blown by the wind from the corn on a neighboring farm. 'I was not ready for it. I feel such a wrath about it,' says Nurnberg" [3].

The "solution", creating physical and distance barriers to prevent the spread of pollen, is proving to be unreliable. Says this Wall Street Journal article "Such moves to restrict the spread of GM crops often are ineffective. Last month in Australia, government experts discovered biotech canola genes in two non-GM varieties despite a ban covering half the country. "Regretfully, the GM companies appear unable to contain their product," said Kim Chance, agriculture minister for the state of Western Australia, on the agency's Web site." [4] italics ours.

The paths to contamination are numerous. Besides the cross-pollination by insects, there are: wind, birds, eating and deposition by animals such as livestock or rodents, flooding, contamination at grain mills, accidental dropping of seed from bags or trucks, intentional contamination. Included in this are illegal imports of contaminated seeds to non-approving countries which discover it by accident (or fail to discover it until it's already growing) [5] etc. "It's amazing ... There's just so many different ways it can be spread around" [6]. Photos [7][8] courtesy of the Network of Concerned Farmers.

Is It Intentional?

Many are now expressing suspicions that the contamination is deliberate, "once genetic contamination reaches a 'significant' level, the world will be left with no other choice but to accept the sad reality. Genetically engineered crops will then be pushed with impunity. The great genetic scandal is only beginning to unfold." [9] [10]. Says the Scottish parliament's Mark Ruskell, "As far as the US and the biotechnology companies are concerned the GM debate doesn't exist -- you will eat it and you will grow it" [11][12].

Comments from the Biotechnology Industry Association's Lisa Dry add fuel to suggestion, "Rather than pursue the unrealistic goal of trying to keep seeds completely free of genetic contaminants, she and other industry representatives said, the United States should work harder to get European and other nations -- many of which have balked at engineered crops and foods -- to be more accepting of the technology. 'It's important for countries around the world to adopt a uniform standard' of acceptable levels of contamination" [13].

"The transgenic crop science community appears to be egregiously indifferent to such transgene spread in the center of origin and diversity of corn as indicated by a 2002 document signed by over 100 scientists from that community, which states: 'It is important to recognize that the kind of gene flow alleged in the nature paper is both inevitable and welcome' (Prakash, 2002)" [14]. For more info see Monsanto's Mexican Maize Mischief.

"The formula seems to be this" says this Grain article, "focus on the major cash crops (cotton, soybeans, maize, etc), find an entry point, contaminate the seed supply and then step in to take control" See also [15].

"The total acreage devoted to GM crops around the world is expanding. That may be what eventually brings the debate to an end. It's a hell of a thing to say that the way we win is don't give the consumer a choice, but that might be it" says Dale Adolphe, biotech booster and President of the Canadian Seed Growers Association and previous president of the Canola Council of Canada (Western Producer, 4/4/02).

Says Jeremy Rifkin, longtime critic of biotechnology in the New York Times, June 10, 2001, "They're hoping there's enough contamination so that it's a fait accompli" [16], see also this essay by Peter Montague.

Seed companies have also discovered that their seeds have been contaminated, and are not too pleased. "'They knew it, they knew what they were doing: They were just trying to quickly contaminate the whole countryside with it,' says Phil Geertson [who runs a small seed business in Idaho]. 'There are a lot of seed growers that are worried that it's going to destroy their business and that Forage Genetics [a company that Monsanto licensed the Roundup Ready gene to] will be the only game in town'"[17].

According to Don Westfall, biotech industry consultant and vice-president of Promar International, in the Toronto Star, January 9 2001: "The hope of the industry is that over time the market is so flooded [with GMOs] that there's nothing you can do about it. You just sort of surrender".

"Gary Barton, Monsanto's director of biotechnology communications, believes that choice to eat genetically engineered food or not will become untenable anyway, in five or 10 years. With genetically engineered corn, canola, soy and other foods coming on the market, 'you'll be backed into a corner with not a lot of food options' if you try to avoid all genetically engineered foods" [18]. Jean-Michel Duhamel, Monsanto's director for southern Europe while denying that GMOs will be forced on people, says that "within ten years GMOs will have reached the point of no return" [19].

"The fact that many biotech scientists have signed on to a statement that says that GM contamination is inevitable, underpins the theory that many of the industry's critics and analysts have felt for some time. They believe that the industry has deliberately set out to contaminate both non- GM and organic crops with the implicit or explicit intention of making contamination inevitable. All hope of another alternative agriculture system simply vanishes and once that vanishes, the anti-GM fight becomes hopeless. 'I think the industry now recognise that hopelessness is their best hope', adds Alan Simpson. 'They have manifestly failed to convince the public of either the desirability or safety of GM products. Having failed to convince, having failed to co-opt or to buy the public support, they are left with coercion. Coercion comes in two forms. One is putting an arm lock over the farmers and the other is putting a choice lock on consumers.' But it is not just the critics who argue that contamination is a deliberate policy. Dan McGuire, Program Director to the 2002 Annual Convention of the American Corn Growers Association: 'I believe that the biotech companies that market GMO seed would like to see the grain marketing system totally taken over and "contaminated" by GMOs. I expect they would see that as ending their problem'" [20]. See also [21].

"The real strategy is to introduce so much genetic pollution that meeting the consumer demand for GM-free food is seen as not possible. The idea, quite simply, is to pollute faster than countries can legislate - then change the laws to fit the contamination.... Backed by predatory intellectual property laws, agribusinesses are on their way to getting the global food supply so hopelessly cross pollinated, polluted and generally mixed up, that legislators may well be forced to throw up their hands. When we look back on this moment, munching our genetically modified health-style food, we may well remember it as the precise turning point when we lost our real food options." -Naomi Klein When choice becomes just a memory 2001.

What Happened in Karnal?

Case in point, Monsanto's secret planting of GM rice right in the northern Indian heart of Basmati rice country at the foot of the Himilayas. Basmati, the oldest variety of rice, has been grown here for thousands of years and is of extreme importance to India both traditionally and economically [22]. Yet it was here that Monsanto chose to plant their engineered rice knowing that contamination could occur. When local farmers found out about it they burned it to the ground.

"BKU spokesperson Rakesh Tikait said, 'We found that trials of Bt rice were conducted under secrecy on the farm land of Paramjit Singh, who leased his two-acre land to Mahyco for Rs 15,000. He was not informed by Mahyco about what seeds were sown and for what purpose. We found blatant violation of biosafty norms in the field trial which may lead to genetic contamination of other rice fields. Singh after discovering the truth joined us along with 500 farmers in uprooting and burning of the crop'"[23]. "The company kept us in the dark. They said they were to do field tests for a hybrid variety." [24]

When M.S. Swaminathan, a supporter of biotech in India, was informed of the incident by Monsanto, he instead was appalled at Monsanto. About the destruction he says,

"I was happy because I thought it was wrong. He says the company shouldn't have planted genetically modified rice in India's basmati rice region because of the possibility of cross pollination. It was foolish to have gone there, in the heartland of the rice exporting region, basmati rice, because we all know genetic pollution, gene flow, genetic contamination. Swaminathan says contamination could ruin India's rice trade with Europe, Japan and other countries that don't accept genetically modified imports" [25].

Planting In Secret

Around the world other secret plantings of Monsanto's GM crops have been uncovered, usually by an unhappy citizenry [26][27][28][29]. This, Monsanto says, is because otherwise their crops would be destroyed by protesters. And while that has occurred that is certainly not the sole reason for their asserting of CBI (Confidential Business Information). Often it is invoked simply because a company is trying to protect its trade secrets from competitors [30]. Some suspect, however, that the excessive secrecy may have another motivation - to quell negative discoveries from research. Whatever the actual motive however, the effect is to deny affected peoples the right to know and to allow questionable actions by certain companies to occur in the dark.

Even non-industry scientists who need to study the crops find they are hampered by all the secrecy. "Even if people knew where the field trials were, in most cases they would not know what was being grown there. This is because the identity and/or source of the biopharmaceutical or biochemical gene(s) is almost always claimed as 'confidential business information' (CBI) of the applicant ... This excessive secrecy was criticized by an expert committee of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) that recently reviewed the USDA’s performance at regulating transgenic plants (NAS 2002, p. 177). The committee found that the broad use of CBI not only impairs the public’s right to know, but also hampers scientific peer review of APHIS decisions: "The committee finds that the extent of confidential business information (CBI) in registrant documents sent to APHIS hampers external review and transparency of the decision-making process. Indeed, the committee often found it difficult to gather the information needed to write this report due to inaccessible CBI. (NAS 2002, Exec. Summ., p. 11).... Even the size of a field trial is often kept secret on the grounds that it provides a clue as to how close the company is to commercialization (personal communication, James White, USDA)" [31] The site mentions more than 300 secret field trials in the US alone.

Recently twenty six corn-insect specialists complained in a statement to the EPA that excessive secrecy is preventing them from studying GM crops. Specifically the scientists say that, "Technology/stewardship agreements required for the purchase of genetically modified seed explicitly prohibit research. These agreements inhibit public scientists from pursuing their mandated role on behalf of the public good unless the research is approved by industry. As a result of restricted access, no truly independent research can be legally conducted on many critical questions regarding the technology, its performance, its management implications, IRM, and its interactions with insect biology. Consequently, data flowing to an EPA Scientific Advisory Panel from the public sector is unduly limited." [32].

Researchers "must seek permission from the seed companies [for research]. And sometimes that permission is denied or the company insists on reviewing any findings before they can be published, they say. Such agreements have long been a problem, the scientists said, but they are going public now because frustration has been building. 'If a company can control the research that appears in the public domain, they can reduce the potential negatives that can come out of any research,' said Ken Ostlie, an entomologist at the University of Minnesota". "The companies 'have the potential to launder the data, the information that is submitted to E.P.A.,' said Elson J. Shields, a professor of entomology at Cornell.

"It would be chilling enough if any other type of company were able to prevent independent researchers from testing its wares and reporting what they find—imagine car companies trying to quash head-to-head model comparisons done by Consumer Reports, for example. But when scientists are prevented from examining the raw ingredients in our nation’s food supply or from testing the plant material that covers a large portion of the country’s agricultural land, the restrictions on free inquiry become dangerous." Scientific American editorial

Unfortunately though, the climate is such that most of "the researchers ... withheld their names because they feared being cut off from research by the companies" ... "'People are afraid of being blacklisted ... 'If your sole job is to work on corn insects and you need the latest corn varieties and the companies decide not to give it to you, you can’t do your job'" [33].

Dodging Responsibility

In a move to absolve itself from blame Monsanto here (1) says, in so many words, that it is the responsibility of organic farmers to figure out a way to keep contamination from Monsanto's GM ingredients out of their crops. This despite the fact that it is the upstart biotech genes that are the trespassers here. Besides this Monsanto has aggressively claimed patent ownership of these genes (e.g. the Schmeiser case) making the responsibility ultimately theirs.

In fact Monsanto here, in a paragraph that calls "highly significant... that could affect the very heart of the company's business" says that contamination of organic and conventional crops with their engineered genes, which they call "adventitious presence", is "unavoidable". It goes on to say, "The potential for adventitious presence of biotechnology traits is a factor that can affect general public acceptance of these traits. Concern about adventitious presence could lead to increased regulation, which may include: requirements for labeling and traceability; liability transfer mechanisms which may include financial protection insurance; and possible restrictions or moratoria on testing, planting or use of biotechnology traits".

Sadly, one envisions a gloomy future wherein natural organic crops must now and evermore be sequestered from all environmental contact. Says Arran Stephens, president of Nature's Path Foods, an organic producer of breads and cereals based in Delta, British Columbia, "There's no wall high enough to keep that stuff contained".

The Spreading GM Infection

Nature recently acknowledged what many have known for years - that total containment is an impossibility. "Amid the calls for tighter regulations, experts say one truth is being drowned out: no amount of regulation can guarantee that these crops will not escape and multiply" [34].

Recently Genewatch UK and Greenpeace International have collaborated to create the GM Contamination Register. It is a record of those contamination incidents that have occurred worldwide (at least that which has been publically documented). Says their GM Contamination Report 2005 "As such the register entries represent a sample of the actual contamination incidents that have taken place globally. There will be others that are, as yet, undetected or unreported because in most countries there is no systematic monitoring of GM crops post-commercialization and any contamination that is detected as part of food producers quality control procedures is not published. It is probable that the large majority of GM contamination incidents fall into the undetected or undisclosed category". According to their website "there were 113 incidents included in the register to the end of 2005: 88 cases of contamination, 17 illegal releases and eight reports of negative agricultural side-effects. For 2005, this includes seven cases of contamination, eight illegal releases and three cases of negative agricultural side-effects. A total of 39 countries on five continents are known to have been affected by an incident of GM contamination, illegal planting or adverse agricultural side-effect since 1996. This is almost twice the number of countries that grow GM crops." Update: As of the end of 2007 the official count is now 216 contamination events in 57 countries [35].

Contamination's Cost, A Case Study

Alarming news was the recent revelation that almost all U.S. long grain rice has been contaminated by GM traits, "Almost all the tests are showing up positive.... I’m not aware of any milled rice it hasn’t shown up in" said Richard Bell, Secretary of the Arkansas Department of Agriculture [36]. And the contaminated rice, Bayer CropScience's GM LL601 (engineered to be resistant to Bayer's Liberty Link herbicide), is now showing up all over Europe although not approved there [37]. In a sign of how unexpected and even chaotic the situation was for some Nature reports that, "When the escape was announced in August last year, LLRICE601 had not been approved for human consumption. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) rushed to deregulate the crop, granting permission on 24 November for LLRICE601 to be grown without a permit" [38].

As a result of the contamination non-GM rice producers in the United States are suing Bayer and the expected loss of markets which will likely be quite costly [39] also see World’s Largest Rice Company Halts All Imports from USA. Says the U.S.D.A. "According to estimates for the 2006 crop year, rice production in the U.S. is valued at $1.88 billion, approximately half of which is expected to be exported. The U.S. provides about 12 % of world rice trade. In 2005, 80% of rice exports were long grain varieties" [40]. "Meanwhile, demand for organic rice, as with other organic grains, is outstripping supply. 'Demand is strong and supplies aren’t meeting the demand'" [41].

One of the genes that are now being inserted into rice experimentally is of human origin "which is causing disgust and revulsion among critics.... no one will want to eat the partially human-derived food because it will smack of cannibalism." [42]. See also Mommy, Is This a Finger in My Rice Puffs?. Anheuser-Busch, the beer maker and America's largest buyer of rice, in 2005 vowed not to buy any rice grown in its state of Missouri if GE rice were grown there because of contamination concerns. Ventria Bioscience, which planned to grow the rice with human genes, had been recently shown the door in California and had relocated to Monsanto's home state. Busch finally agreed to an acceptable distance from its rice fields of 120 miles [43].

Pharm Crops

Fears have also been raised that genes from "pharm" crops engineered for other purposes such as medicinal or industrial could find their way into food crops [44] and indeed mix-ups have already occurred. "Meanwhile, the stakes are getting higher. Since 1991, the USDA has approved nearly 400 field tests of crops that produce pharmaceutical and industrial compounds, leaving many concerned that future escapes could have severe consequences for human health. A close call came in 2002, when stalks of corn designed to produce a pig vaccine were found mixed with $2.7-million worth of Nebraska soya beans destined for human consumption." [45]. In response to the incident "The Grocery Manufacturers of America, whose members include major foodmakers such as General Mills Inc., Kellogg Co. and Del Monte, said it was "deeply concerned by ProdiGene's reported conduct" "We strongly urge the biotech industry to direct its substantial research capabilities into investigating the use of nonfood crops for the development of pharmaceuticals" [46]. One can find here a database of which pharmaceutical and industrial crops the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has allowed your state. For more see the excellent report Gone to Seed.

Not Taking No For An Answer

John Ross has written a telling article for CounterPunch about the kind of pressure Big Biotech is putting on countries to accept their GM products in The Plot Against Mexican Corn. As an example Brazil, which until recently was proud of its GM-free stance and despite the fact that its citizens are overwhelmingly opposed to GM food has thrown in the towel due to extensive illegal cultivation and contamination in the south of the country - not to mention the usual bullying from Monsanto see Brazil Contamination strategy succeeds also [47] [48].

An unfortunate consequence of contamination is that farmers trying to grow soy that is free from GM are being forced to move further and further north, even into the Amazonian rain forest to escape it. Rather than accept any culpability for the contamination driven deforestation though, Monsanto here attempts to pin the blame on those who are trying to keep their crops GM free even though the illegal seed was Monsanto's [49] [50] [51] See also [52] under "More Rio Grande do Sul Genetically Modified Crops". Monsanto has left no doubt about their intentions in Brazil "We are going to take every opportunity that comes our way to consolidate our position in the corn seed market, just as we have done in the United States" they say [53].

A Game of Monopoly

To solidify its hold on world food "beginning in 1996-the same year it first released a Roundup Ready crop-Monsanto went on a more than $9 billion buying spree of some of the nation's biggest seed companies. Two years ago, Monsanto paid $1.4 billion for the fruit-and-vegetable-seed giant Seminis and became the biggest seed company in the world" [54]. Seminis is "the world's largest producer of fruit and vegetable seeds.... The new acquisition not only makes Monsanto the largest supplier of vegetable seeds in the world, but also, according to the company's calculations, the largest seed and biotech company over all" [55]. Though Monsanto says it will only "analyze genes in the crops to speed conventional breeding of improved varieties [and] would refrain for now from putting new genes into the crops" Hugh Grant, Monsanto's current CEO says that "In the long term, there may be opportunities in biotech".

"The acquisition plan is ongoing: This May, Monsanto received approval from the U.S. Department of Justice for its $1.5 billion acquisition of Delta and Pine Land Co., the largest cottonseed company in the nation" [56].

Many see an obvious monopoly on seed occurring here which is especially ominous, see The Age of Contract Agriculture: Consequences of Concentration in Input Supply(2). "In fact, the company now faces at least 20 antitrust lawsuits over its actions" [57]. See also Etc Group report Who Owns Nature? (PDF).

Says India's Vandana Shiva "Once they have established the norm that seed can be owned as their property royalties can be collected. We will depend on them for every seed we grow of every crop we grow. If they control seed they control food, they know it, it's strategic. It's more powerful than bombs, it's more powerful than guns. This is the best way to control the populations of the world" from The World According to Monsanto.

Farmer to farmer report

In December 2009, the Farmer to Farmer Campaign on Genetic Engineering, a network of 34 farm organizations throughout the U.S., issued a new report highlighting the anti-competitiveness within the seed industry.

According to the report, which attributes the current consolidation of the seed industry to lax antitrust enforcement and laws favorable to large corporations, 10 companies account for roughly two-thirds (65 percent) of the world’s proprietary seed for major crops.[1] Monsanto, whose genetically engineered seeds are planted on more than 80 percent of all U.S. corn acres and more than 90 percent of all U.S. soybean acres, has argued that the demand for their seed has driven the market to its current state; however, critics point to anti-competitiveness clauses within agreements with seed distributors.[1]

By being able to control the supply of seeds to farmers, large corporations are also able to encourage the use of their newest products and formulas. For example, in August 2009, Monsanto announced that the royalty fee on its next generation Roundup Ready soybean seed would increase 42 percent in 2010—an increase of roughly $75 per acre.[1] For more see Monsanto and the Roundup Ready Controversy.

However, later in 2009, Monsanto issued letters to seed companies and farm groups stating that it would allow farmers to continue to grow Roundup Ready 1 soybeans even after the patent expires in 2014. According to the New York Times, “The issue has potentially broad implications for the agriculture industry because Roundup Ready soybeans will be the first widely grown biotechnology crop to lose patent protection since gene splicing became a mainstay of crop science in the 1990s.” [2]


In a historic move U.S. District Court Judge Charles Breyer on May 3rd (2007) overturned USDA approval of Monsanto's G.E. alfalfa (a livestock fodder) [58] due to concerns about cross pollination with non-G.E. alfalfa. He faulted the U.S.D.A. for not providing an environmental impact study before they approved it. The ruling marks the first time that a genetically engineered crop approved for commercialization has been stopped. As part of the ruling "Pollinators (bees) cannot be added to those fields grown only for hay production.... Farm equipment used in those alfalfa production fields must be properly cleaned after use. That includes harvesting equipment, tractors and tillage equipment.... And, the harvested hay must be stored in specifically designated, labeled containers." [59].

Monsanto appealed the District Court's decision, however a three-judge panel of the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on September 2, 2008 upheld the lower court's ruling. "The Court determined that the planting of genetically modified alfalfa can result in potentially irreversible harm to organic and conventional varieties of crops, damage to the environment, and economic harm to farmers.... "the judge rightly dismissed Monsanto's claims that their bottom line should come before the rights of the public and America's farmers. This ruling is a turning point in the regulation of biotech crops in this country" said Center for Food Safety's Andrew Kimbrell [60].

In a victory for organic farmers federal district court for the Northern District of California ruled that the USDA violated the National Environmental Policy Act when it failed to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement before deregulating GE sugar beets. "The Courts have made it clear that USDA’s job is to protect America’s farmers and consumers, not the interests of Monsanto" said Andrew Kimbrell Executive Director of the Center for Food Safety. Judge Jeffrey S. White emphasized "the potential elimination of a farmer’s choice to grow non-genetically engineered crops, or a consumer’s choice to eat non-genetically engineered food". "We must continue to protect this natural resource, along with the rights of organic farmers to be protected from negative economic impact from GE crops, and consumers rights’ to choose to eat food free of GE components" said Mathew Dillion, Director of Advocacy of the Organic Seed Alliance. "Although touted by Monsanto as offering all sorts of benefits, GE crops offer consumers nothing, and are designed primarily to sell herbicides. The end result of their use is more toxics in our environment and our food, disappointed farmers, and revenue for Monsanto" said Earthjustice attorney Paul Achitoff [61].

(1) "Examples of Identity Preservation (I.P.) corn crops include ... organic and non-genetically enhanced specifications. Growers certifying the I.P. of their crop assume the responsibility and receive the benefit for ensuring that their crop meets mutually agreed contract specifications for purity. The accepted practice with I.P. production is that the I.P. grower implements any necessary processes, e.g. crop isolation, that might be required to meet the I.P. specifications.... each I.P. grower has responsibility to implement any necessary processes." (note: the last line above no longer appears in archived versions [62]

"These processes may include sourcing seed appropriate for I.P. specifications, field management practices such as might cross-pollinate, and harvest and handling practices designed to prevent mixing and maintain product quality." [63].

(2) Other seed companies aquired by Monsanto are: A. Hubri Tech Seed Int'l., Inc. + (1982, 100% Equity) 1. HybriTech Europe SA ¤ (Feb. 1996, 90% Equity) a. Paul Euralis + (Feb. 1996, 10% Equity) 2. AgriPro Seed Wheat Division + (July 1996, 100% Equity) B. Jacob Hartz Seed Co., Inc. + (1983, 100% Equity) C. Sementes Agroceres SA + (Nov. 1997, $150M, 100% Equity) D. Agracetus, Inc. ? (April 1996, $150M, 100% Equity) E. Delta & Pine Land + (May 1998, $1.9B, 100% Equity, Nov. 1998 Share Exchange) F. Calgene, Inc. ? (Apr. 1996, $30M, 100% Equity; Nov. 1998, $50M, 5% Equity; May 1997, $242M, 45% Equity; Total Cost $322M) 1. Stoneville Pedigreed Seed Company + (Announced Auction, Jan. 1999) G. Holden's Foundation Seeds + (Jan. 1997, $1.02B, 100% Equity) 1. Corn States Hybrid Service, Inc., Corn States International Sarl. + H. Monsoy ¤ (Nov. 1997) I. DeKalb Genetics Corporation + (March 1995, $1.2M, 40% Equity; May 1998, 2.5B, 100% Equity; Total cost $3.7B) 1. Custom Farm Seed + (July 1997) J. Asgrow Seed Company LLC + (Nov. 1996, $240M, 100% Equity) K. First Line Seeds, Lt. + (June 1998) L. Plant Breeding International Cambridge, Ltd. ? (July 1998, $525M, 100% Equity) M. Cargill's International Seed Division + (July 1998, $1.4B (est.)) N. Renessen ¤ (May 1999, $100M, 50% Equity, Joint Venture) Cargill, Inc. + (May 1998, $100M, 50% Equity, Joint Venture) 1. Cargill Hybrid Seeds + [64].

Though supposedly unlikely, says Percy Schmeiser "'It's not just in farmer's fields. Monsanto's Roundup Ready canola is now growing in all of our highway medians, parking strips, backyards, schoolyards and golf courses. We even find it growing in our cemetaries'. And because it's genetically coded to be impervious to pests and herbicides it's almost impossible to kill'". - From Harvest for Hope by Jane Goodall (pp 50-51)

"OK, we know that cross-pollination will occur but we’ve got thirty years of experience to say we know how far pollen will travel. And therefore what we’ve done is we’ll grow a GM crop at a distance away from a non-GM crop, so the people that want non-GM can buy non-GM, and the people that want GM can buy GM. The two will not get mixed up. Everybody will have the right to choose" - Paul Rylott, Seed Manager for Aventis CropScience, and later chief spokesperson for the agricultural biotechnology industry in the UK, Matter of fact, BBC2 Eastern Region, broadcast 12 October 2000

"What you are seeing is not just a consolidation of seed companies, it's really a consolidation of the entire food chain" - Robert Fraley, co-president of Monsanto's agricultural sector 1996, in the Farm Journal. Quoted in: Flint J. (1998) Agricultural industry giants moving towards genetic monopolism. Telepolis, Heise.

"People will have Roundup Ready soya whether they like it or not" - Ann Foster, spokesperson for Monsanto in Britian, as quoted in The Nation magazine from article "The Politics of Food" by Maria Margaronis December 27, 1999 issue.

"'Coexistence' is a nice term, but it turns out that coexistence (means) we put up with their contamination" - George Siemon, head of the Wisconsin-based CROPP Cooperative, which includes about 670 dairy farms around the country whose milk is sold under the Organic Valley label [65].

"The thing I'm most proud of is the industry's impeccable environmental and safety record" - Robert Fraley, Monsanto's technology chief [66]

"The 10 largest antitrust law firms in the United States have gone into the federal courts charging Monsanto with creating a global conspiracy in violation of the antitrust laws, to control the global market in seeds." - Jeremy Rifkin interview with PBS [67]

For more see this list of contamination related quotes

Articles and Resources

Related SourceWatch articles


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Lynda Waddington "Monsanto, Big Ag has 'troubling' control over seed market, report finds" The Iowa Independent, December 29, 2009.
  2. Andrew Pollack AS Patent Ends, a Seed’s Use Will Survive "New York Times", December 17, 2009

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