Founded in 1901 by John Francis Queeny in St. Louis, Missouri , the original Monsanto Company began as a company producing saccharin, an artificial sweetener that was then sold to Coca-Cola for use in its drinks. It is now one of the world's largest agricultural companies and is focused on biotechnological innovation. It is involved in the development of genetic engineering technology. In 1945 Monsanto began to manufacture and sell agricultural chemicals and in 1960 its Agricultural Division was created. It has a large number of patents, including the patent for terminator seeds.
Monsanto was one of the companies responsible for the production of the herbicide Agent Orange, and for knowingly and illegally discharging polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in Anniston, Alabama. Monsanto has also come under attack for their production of genetically modified seeds for food production. As well as producing the largely untested and unregulated seed, they also have taken legal action multiple times to prevent the labeling of products made with genetically modified crops. This includes their suing the state of Vermont claiming that the state's GMO labelling law violates free speech.
- http://www.monsanto.com/monsanto/layout/about_us/timeline/default.asp Monsanto Company history
- http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=11638 Agent Orange victims sue Monsanto (2004)
- http://www.chemicalindustryarchives.org/dirtysecrets/annistonindepth/pollution.asp Monsanto's pollution of Anniston, Alabama.
- http://www.mindfully.org/Industry/Monsanto-PCBs-Anniston.htm A copy of a Washington post story regarding the pollution in Anniston.