Anyone and everyone who is even slightly into food, politics, or government conspiracy theories has at least heard something about Monsanto.
Whether it's the company's development of Agent Orange or farmer lawsuits, the consensus is that the company is pretty evil.
Well, to separate fact from fiction, Food & Water Watch compiled a report, Monsanto: A Corporate Profile, documenting the company's history and influence. Read on for details.
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- GE Mandatory Labeling Laws Introduced in Florida
Food & Water Watch's team of researchers put together the report that outlines the corporation's history and strong ties to lawmakers, regulators, and academic researchers.
According to Lynna Kaucheck, senior organizer for Food & Water Watch, "We wrote the report to show that Monsanto is responsible for the fact that the vast majority of our food supply is both genetically engineered and not labeled as such."
Currently, Monsanto holds patents on 1,676 seeds, plants, and other agricultural applications. These products are grown on more than 282 million acres across the world, including 40 percent of croplands in the United States.
Started in 1901 by John Francis Queeney, the company released its first product, the sugar substitute saccharin -- a product feared to cause cancer. Since its inception, Monsanto has gone on to produce the notorious Vietnam War chemical Agent Orange, Roundup herbicide, GE Roundup Ready seed, and the dairy industry artificial growth hormone rBGH.
Sounds healthy, huh?
The report goes on to call out the numbers. In 2011, Monsanto brought in $11.8 billion in net sales. From 2000 to 2012, the corporation donated $829,662 to U.S. political campaign contributions. In addition, during the same period, Monsanto spent $62,356,730 on U.S. lobbying efforts.
Not exactly a bunch of farmers with pitchforks.
Food & Water Watch's report concludes with recommended actions for regulators.
"From seeds to grocery stores and every place in between, our food system is tremendously consolidated with a handful of corporations dictating what we eat," said Kaucheck. "This new report shows just what a huge influence Monsanto has on the entire food system, and I hope it will motivate concerned citizens everywhere to join the fight to label GE foods, because we all deserve the right to know what we are feeding our families."
In Florida, there are two mandatory labeling bills stuck in committee. Sponsored by Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda, H.B. 1233 is awaiting approval from the Agriculture Natural Resources subcommittee in the House. Sen. Maria Sach's S.B. 1728 has not been added to Monday's Committee on Agriculture in the Senate.
To view the full Food & Water Watch Report, click here.