Mireille's Journey To Health


Who Is This Monsanto We Hear So Much About?


In a nutshell, Monsanto is the creator or Roundup and largest producer of genetically modified seeds on the entire planet.  By a lot, too!  In fact, in 2003, Monsanto produced 90% of them.  However, Monsanto was not always in the business of genetically modifying seeds.  Their history is very diverse and interesting to say the least.

coca cola

A Simple Soft Drink Industry Supplier

In 1901, John F. Queeny founded Monsanto.  The name was a tribute to his wife, who’s maiden name was Olga Monsanto.  He’d been in the pharmaceutical business for 30 years.  He put all of his savings into the business and even borrowed from a soft drink supplier out of Chicago.  In the beginning Monsanto was in the business of producing saccharin, and went by the name, Monsanto Chemical Works.  They actually supplied Coca-Cola with saccharin.  Saccharin is a coal-derived sweetener, 700 times sweeter than sugar.  I hope you caught that, coal-derived part.  The debate over the safety of saccharin for human consumption has literally gone on over a hundred years, and it still has not been banned!  The company added caffeine and vanillin to production and supplied the soft drink industry.

aspirin Successfully In The Market Of Toxins

 The company started making some really good money.  World War I happened, and Monsanto started producing phenol and aspirin.  They took over an acid company to help with operations.  Then, they went international, as the worlds largest producer of phenol and cresol.  Thought I’d share the official definitions of phenol and cresol with you.  These definitions come straight from The Medical Dictionary by Farlex.


/phe·nol/ (fe´nol)

1. an extremely poisonous compound, C6H5OH, which is caustic and disinfectant; used as a pharmaceutic preservative and in dilution as an antimicrobial and topical anesthetic and antipruritic. Poisoning, due to ingestion or transdermal absorption, causes symptoms including colic, local irritation, corrosion, seizures, cardiac arrhythmias, shock, and respiratory arrest.


/cre·sol/ (kre´sol) a toxic, corrosive liquid with disinfectant and antiseptic actions, obtained from coal tar as a mixture of three isomeric forms and containing not more than 5 per cent phenol; used for sterilizing items.


Rubber Chemicals And Phosphorous
John Queeny gets cancer (imagine that!), so his son, Edgar becomes the new president.  Monsanto grows and grows.  They take over a rubber company.  They get into key rubber chemical markets.  Chemicals, chemicals, chemicals!  They decide to make phosphorus.  Not to confuse what they were producing with the vitamin/mineral supplement.  Same element done totally differently (A whole separate topic of discussion).  Let’s check out the definition of phosphorous from yahoo’s dictionary.

Phosphorus Definition


n. noun

  • 1. A highly reactive, poisonous, nonmetallic element occurring naturally in phosphates, especially apatite, and existing in three allotropic forms, white (or sometimes yellow), red, and black (or violet). An essential element for biological cells, it is used in safety matches, pyrotechnics, incendiary shells, and fertilizers and to protect metal surfaces from corrosion. Atomic number 15; atomic weight 30.9738; melting point (white) 44.15°C; boiling point 280.5°C; specific gravity (white) 1.82, (red) 2.16, (black) 2.25 to 2.69; valence 3, 4, 5.
  • 2. A phosphorescent substance.
  • manhattan project

The Manhattan Project And The Mound Laboratory

During World War II, Monsanto was actually a part of the Manhattan Project, which lead to the first nuclear bomb.  They also operated the Mound Laboratory on behalf of the government.


Growing And Creating

Monsanto forms the Chemstranc Corp with the help of American Viscose.  They combine their strengths and are very successful in the synthetic fiber and rubber fields.  They eventually take over Lion Oil, which contributed to them getting into the fertilizer business.  Are you seeing a pattern?  A company of chemists take over companies and produce more and more chemically-created, artificial products.

chemical works

Dabbling In Agriculture

It wasn’t until the 1950’s  that Monsanto began dabbling in the agricultural industry.  Ever heard of Randox?  It was Monsanto’s first pesticide.  It was created to stop weeds before they ever surfaced.  By 1960, the U.S. headquarters were in Missouri, and overseas headquarters were in Brussels, Belgium.  Monsanto was already a booming, global corporation.  At this point they were in the nylon, acrylic fiber, oil, gas, plastic, and agricultural industries.  They decided to take the word chemical out of their name.  How ironic?!  Well, we’ll give them credit here, as environmental concerns grew in the 60’s, they did come up with a biodegradable detergent.

agent orange

Agent Orange

They were the leading manufacturer of  the herbicide, Agent Orange during the Vietnam war.  It was extremely toxic.  In some areas, the soil and water contained levels of  2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzodioxin that were hundreds of levels higher than the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers safe.  They decided to decrease pollution by phasing out the production of polychlorinated biphenyl, but it was hard to shake the blame for the devastating impact Agent Orange had had on service members.  Tumors, birth defects, rashes, psychological symptoms, and cancer were all being linked to Agent Orange.  A lawsuit was filed (Monsanto and others involved agreed to pay 180 million to settle, right before the trial), but sales continued to boom.


Roundup And Herbicide Disputes

Monsanto created their infamous, Roundup (herbicide).  Not long after, they lost millions to Spray-Rite over an agricultural herbicide dispute.  Monsanto was accused of fixing prices.


Continued Growth

Remember how Monsanto started with saccharin?  Well, in the 1980’s, they decided to buy the pharmaceutical producers of NutraSweet (aspartame).  That same pharmaceutical company they purchased also manufactured copper IUD’s.  Lawsuits about their side-effects began to occur.  In 1990, Monsanto introduced Simplesse, a natural fat substitute.  Sales continued to soar.  They create Maxaquin, a one-a-day antibiotic, approved for use in the U.S.

dairy cows

The Introduction Of Synthetic Hormones For Dairy Cows

In 1993, after spending over 300 million dollars in development, Monsanto gets FDA approval for bovine somatropin, a synthetic hormone for cows.  The synthetic hormone would increase the milk production in dairy cows.  Both dairy farmers and veterinarians opposed the synthetic hormone.  The FDA approved it, anyway.


EPA And USDA Approve Bioengineered Seed Use

Monsanto purchases Merck & Co.’s specialty chemical unit, Kelco (as if they weren’t already deep enough into the chemicals).  In 1995, the EPA gives Monsanto approval to grow plants that they bioengineered to produce their own insecticides.  They could plant, but not sell these bioengineered crops, such as potatoes, corn, and cotton.  Not long after, the USDA grants their approval to market tomatoes that take longer to ripen.  Monsanto continues to improve their herbicide, Roundup, and they join forces with DeKalb Genetics to explore the potential of agricultural biotechnology.  You’ve heard soybeans are a highly genetically modified crop?  Well, in 1996, Monsanto bought Asgrow Seed, the second largest marketer of soybean seeds in the U.S.  That might explain a thing or two.

president clinton

Government Support And Continued Growth

Very interesting fact here: In 1997, in his State of the Union address, President Clinton actually named Monsanto as a company he’d enlisted to help create more jobs!  Monsanto acquires Holden’s Seeds Inc., Corn States Hybrid Service Inc., and Corn States International.  The mad science continues as they work to develop more agrochemicals.  They come into 2 billion dollars in revolving credit and pursue more seed acquisitions.  In fact, they look to get rid of Equal and NutraSweet, their artificial sweeteners, and focus on agriculture.  Monsanto merges with Pharmacia & Upjohn Inc., and they become Pharmacia Corp, but the agricultural portion of the business has kept Monsanto’s name.  With so much expansion, in 2003, Monsanto could account for 90% of genetically modified seeds planted that year.

super weeds

Super Weeds

One of the things Monsanto did with their bioengineering technology, is they made their seeds immune to their infamous herbicide, Roundup.  The idea being, that they could hose down the area with Roundup, and everything dies, but the seeds flourish.  Unfortunately , just like overuse of antibiotics creates super bugs, overuse of herbicides creates super weeds, challenging Monsanto to go back to their lab, and throw together more chemicals.


Current Projects

Monsanto is currently trying to bring biotechnology into the wheat industry.  They are still in the pharmaceutical industry and are marketing drugs to treat Parkinson’s.  They are working with GM to create pickup trucks that use Ethanol-based E85 fuel.  They are getting more and more into bioenergy.

no gmo

Should We Be Concerned?

I’m a very open-minded person.  I have the mindset that not everything natural is good for consumption, and not everything unnatural is bad for consumption.  I believe science can better our world.  However, Monsanto’s history is all over the place.  The only thing truly consistent is the production of artificial and modified things.  It seems like mad science experiment after mad science experiment.   I don’t want all of those chemicals in my food, and I see no reason t deplete the nutrients in the soil when farmers are able to grow crops without all of those toxic chemicals.  I can’t afford to buy everything organic, but for that same reason, I have two container gardens full of vegetables.







7 comments on “Who Is This Monsanto We Hear So Much About?

  1. Donna
    May 10, 2015

    Well done post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! It was very interesting researching it! I’m still surprised by everything I learned.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Donna
        May 10, 2015

        Keep researching it changes constantly it is an eye opener when you do start researching but it is also hard to know where the research is coming from because that does sway the results….

        Liked by 1 person

      • Definitely! Beyond the GMO’s, just knowing their history makes you question how they managed to take over so much of our food sources!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Our Children Will Inherit Our World | Mireille's Journey To Health

  3. Karen
    May 17, 2015

    Very informative, glad I don’t drink dairy and use those old sugar substitutes. It really makes you feel everything is unsafe for consumption.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes it sure does! Since researching for that post, I enjoy grocery shopping less. I’m always questioning my food quality.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: