Monsanto: A checkered history
1st September, 1998
Is Monsanto the “clean and green” company its advertisements promote, or is the new image merely a product of clever public relations?
Monsanto’s high-profile advertisements in Britain and the US depict the corporation as a visionary, world-historical force, working to bring state-of-the-art science and an environmentally responsible outlook to the solution of humanity’s pressing problems. But just who is Monsanto? Where did they come from? How did they get to be the world’s second largest manufacturer of agricultural chemicals, one of the largest producers of seeds and soon – with the impending merger with American Home Products – the largest seller of prescription drugs in the United States? What do their workers, their customers, and the others whose lives they have impacted, have to say? Is Monsanto the “clean and green” company its advertisements promote, or is the new image merely a product of clever public relations? A look at the historical record offers some revealing clues, and may help us to better understand the company’s present-day practices?
Headquartered just outside St. Louis, Missouri, the Monsanto Chemical Company was founded in 1901 by John Francis Queeny. Queeny, a self-educated chemist, brought technology to manufacture saccharine, the first artificial sweetener, from Germany to...
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