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Monsanto v. Food Inc. over How to Feed the World

Posted by: Michael Arndt on January 11, 2010

Anyone who’s seen the documentary Food Inc. knows that Monsanto comes across as a thug. Its bioengineered soybeans, designed to be unaffected by Monsanto weedkiller Roundup, command 93% of the U.S. crop, yet there’s Monsanto in the 2008 movie, heartlessly hauling farmers into court to jack up its market share even further. Monsanto execs declined to comment then. In retrospect, CEO Hugh Grant now says he should have. He might have blunted the film’s impact if he had.

Grant has a different take on Monsanto’s role in agriculture, of course. From his point of view, the company is working on the side of angels, helping to create commodity crops to feed today’s population and the 2 billion more people who might occupy the planet by 2030. He is proud that Monsanto scientists were among the first to have a patented genetically modified plant on the market—Roundup Ready soybeans were introduced in 1996—and he is excited about new efforts to bioengineer wheat and vegetables, too, as well as the next generation of super beans and corn.

I got a chance to hear Grant’s perspective when he swung through Bloomberg’s office in Chicago the other day. (My colleagues at Bloomberg News posted this story on Monsanto’s patent strategy, and its legal fight with sometime partner/sometime rival DuPont.) Grant, 51, a big man with a Scottish accent and a shaved head, was joined by Robert Fraley, Monsanto’s chief technology officer, 56, a former Illinois farm boy who coincidentally wears the same haircut.

Monsanto’s goal within the next 20 years is to create plants that will produce twice today’s harvest. Fraley notes that when he went off to college in 1970, his family farm produced 75 bushels of corn from each acre. Today that average in the U.S. has more than doubled to 160 bushels an acre, and he predicts Monsanto scientists will come up with plants that will yield 300 bushels an acre. Moreover, farmers would use a third less nitrogen fertilizer than they add today.

“This isn’t a Jetson’s scenario,” Grant says.

Monsanto’s scientists employ two methods to devise more productive plants. One is traditional cross-breeding, though Monsanto has computerized much of the process so researchers don’t have to wait for crops to mature to know which combination will boost photosynthesis, say, or make a plant resistant to drought. A quick analysis of each plant’s DNA can tell them instead. The other method is bioengineering, or inserting new genes into a plant. They employ each technique roughly half the time.

One such genetic modification that excites Grant is a soybean that can produce Omega 3 fatty acids which are believed to reduce the risk of heart disease and have a number of other health benefits. For now, Omega 3 is found only in oily fish. This new and improved soybean also would be cleansed of trans fats and other saturated fats and become essentially as healthful as olive oil. Monsanto plans to have this patent-protected seed on the market in two years.

Further out: drought-resistant wheat and—cue the applause—winter tomatoes that taste like summer tomatoes.

Most of this research assumes, of course, that consumers and governments will OK more genetically modified organisms. Grant thinks that they will. Food scarcity has re-emerged as an issue, particularly in Asia and Africa. Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, India, and China have all opened the door to bioengineered crops or research in the 18 months, he notes. Even Europe might be becoming more accommodating, he adds. “Biotech isn’t a panacea,” he says. “But biotech has a role to play. We need more yields.”

This isn’t the story that appears in Food Inc., which is why Grant says he erred by not cooperating with the movie’s makers.

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Reader Comments

Corrina Riemann MS, RD

January 11, 2010 11:57 PM

Even if Grant had cooperated in being interviewed for Food Inc., the facts are the same. There is NOT a shortage of food on this planet, only a shortage in quality of food and access to quality foods.
Did Grant happen to mention how the patents on non GE seeds are justified by Monsantor? Just b/c something is legal does not make it right or ethical.


M. Davis

January 12, 2010 12:39 AM

More spin by Monsanto. Promises that never came to fruition and that never will! People don't want GMOs. Monsanto has too many secrets. Why no labeling if it's such a great product? Why no human feeding trials if it's so safe? Why are animal studies just now showing that eating GMOs changes the animals composition? The truth is out there, and sometimes it is revealed slowly. Now there is starting to be an avalanche of truth! and it's not good for GMOs.


January 12, 2010 09:52 AM


I am kind of surprised that an obviously educated woman such as yourself, and supposedly knowledgeable about food diets buys into all the food inc crap.


January 12, 2010 10:00 AM


Thats a great idea! Monsanto should spend all kinds of money in R & D, and then just give away all of their inventions to other companies! That'll please their shareholders! (Sarcasm intended).

Robert Laughing

January 12, 2010 12:22 PM

Another CEO who doest remember the valued LESSONS of the Tylenol scare and the value of 'forthrightness.'

I'm curious how Monsanto escapes the RESTRAINT of Trade charge, along with PREDATORY business practices?

In Food Inc, a farmer's fields are SURROUNDED by Monsanto's GMOs. The farmer doesn't WANT to use GMOs. But because the GMO CONTAMINATES EVERYTHING AROUND IT and beyond, Monsanto's bought and paid for politicians, make laws that give Monsanto the RIGHT to bludgeon EVERYONE into submission, including the farmer and his seed-cleaning neighbor??? What a vision for Democracy and Freedom....thank you, Neo-Constipated Repubs and 'everything for re-election' Dems!!! THIS IS A VERY FRIGHTENING FUTURE....don't SWALLOW the GMO vi$$$ion!


January 12, 2010 12:39 PM

The Monsanto Pledge is our commitment to how we do business. It is a declaration that compels us to listen more, to consider our actions and their impact broadly, and to lead responsibly. It helps us to convert our values into actions, and to make clear who we are and what we champion.

Integrity is the foundation for all that we do. Integrity includes honesty, decency, consistency, and courage.

Arthur Tesla

January 12, 2010 01:11 PM

Monsanto-The Most Evil Empire Since Darth Vadar!


January 12, 2010 01:23 PM

It does not matter how Monsanto responded to this fake-umentary. The demographics targeted by these films that features touchy-feelie politically correct white lies would only take anything Monsanto says or do as a "conspiracy" or "coverup". Best let it rot in anonymity like all the other Michael Moore fake-umentaries.


January 12, 2010 01:38 PM

Absolutely frightening! After studying Anthropology receiving my B.A. (no expert at all but close) I learned the minute you alter a societies food climate in anyway you create a tablet for disaster. Nature has always balanced itself out by death, disease, birth and natural selection. This crosses so many lines it's paralyzing. We will not see the effects of this for a few hundred years but by doing this they will grow the population until it pops, and it will. Too many people on this planet WILL create disease that even someone like Monsanto can not handle.


January 12, 2010 01:39 PM

Are you serious Monsanto_Pledge? These kind of cold, inhuman, super refined responses to criticism about Monsanto are not helping your case at all. The feedback section is for conversations, not monologues.

Midwest Matt

January 12, 2010 01:43 PM

Everyone please contact your State Representatives and ensure to post on your social networking sites!!! The ability to hide so much and PROACTIVELY go after these farmers and seed cleaners and bury them in financial debt is unacceptable.

We need to see more litigation banding and support similiar to what was seen from the cigarette titans/cases in the past decade. Monsanto should pay in full for their unethical practices which are clearly NOT decent, honest, or have a shred of integretity...the only thing consistent I have seen is their financail greed and relentless ability to profit!

Brandon Croke

January 12, 2010 01:52 PM

Did you see Food Inc. jjdoublej?

Which part of it was "crap". Why don't you provide facts instead of name calling?

Monsanto is a corporation, they have one goal. Profit. That is fine, but everyone should know better than to listen to their PR corporate speak about them caring about anything but making money.

Vote with your dollar, don't support Monsanto.


January 12, 2010 02:33 PM

Monsanto brought us dioxin, PCB's, agent orange, & all kinds of other hideous things that have caused untold health & envionmental damage... now it's GMOs, and a virtual monopoly on our big food crops... What could possibly go wrong? (sarcasm!) Monsanto has a long record of not only *hiding* evidence of environmental/ health damage, but actively *falsifying* data to make their products seem benign, when they are not. Based on past behavior, I don't trust Monsanto as far as I could throw a truck full of Roundup-Ready soybeans. I am pro-science, but anti-GM & definitely anti-Monsanto. There's a post on called Monsantopheles, if you'd like to read more about why... or watch 'The World According to Monsanto' on youtube, for an overview of how they do busines. This company has done far more harm than good so far, and there's no reason to expect anything different from them in the future.

Concerned Mom

January 12, 2010 04:32 PM

Mike, I agree with your insight. But, I don't think we have to wait hundreds of years for any affect on our society's food climate change...anyone have a relative or friend NOT affected by obesity, autism, ADHD/ADD, Aspergers, Alzheimers, certain cancers, Celiac, IBS, Crohn's, Diabetes, etc. These are rampant in our society with only one true consistent component...what we put in or on our bodies. The blood-brain barrier has been broken and it is affecting our children already. Our immune systems are failing. What have the vaccines done to our soldiers? What clinical trials prove H1N1 vaccine is safe? This is all related. Is anyone paying attention to this? How much money does one have to make to have blatant disregard for others? Monsanto, et al, I'm sick of the PR, show me your compassion for others - not your bank account - and I'll start to take you seriously.


January 12, 2010 05:14 PM

The GMO thing they are feeding us without trial is akin to the the XRAYS on the feet they used to do back in the fifties. 20-30 years from now people will be wondering what in the world were those people thinking. Profit is short sighted. I am thankful Monsanto is suing the farmers. It makes GMO real for people. People are getting hurt. Now they can't even get a new patent. There may be hope yet. Greed has a way of self correcting.


January 12, 2010 06:41 PM

believing big biz over men and women that sift the earth with their own hands = a deadly future indeed. how many decades of health has monsanto already stolen while shuffling around 'potential' or 'unclear' risks? a sales pitch always has the pressure of time. do you give in to all the new gadgets pushed on you? the world's health is at stake - not just your next meal!


January 12, 2010 06:57 PM

If Monsanto's patent is in 90 some percent of the soybeans, how can I boycott their company/product? Any ideas?

I'm quite conservative, and I don't think this documentary was all show and no depth. There certainly seems to be truth in this story. However, I'm not for asking the government to control every part of my life. Instead, I think individuals should take responsibility for their actions-we SHOULD know where our dollars go and who and what we're choosing to support.

April Reeves

January 12, 2010 11:00 PM

Monsanto couldn't feed the poor if they wanted to. The poor have no money to buy food. Period.

The public sees right through all this garbage Monsanto hands out.

And who put up the Monsanto Pledge? What a joke, made for a good laugh though.

You simply cannot alter the DNA of food at the pace it's at when the human body has no ability to keep up.


January 13, 2010 12:53 AM

Get a clue and do some objective research on Monsanto, don't rely on some outlandish faux-documentary with half-truths and clever editing to take things from context.

Fact: Monsanto has filed approximately 140 lawsuits since 1997 (about the time Roundup Ready soybeans were released). Do you know how many thousands of farmers across the world use Monsanto's seed? And there have been a whopping 140-150 lawsuits. Wow, sounds like they're evil to me.

Fact: Farmers CHOOSE TO USE MONSANTO'S PRODUCTS!! If they didn't want to plant Monsanto seed, they wouldn't.

Get over yourselves, get your head out of your @ss, look around and do some REAL research, don't believe everything you read on some biased website or everything you see on some incredibly slanted documentary.


January 13, 2010 06:51 AM

What a puff PR piece trying to persuade readers that Grant and Monsanto have such pure motives. Pretty transparent with factual errors (intended?) such as omega 3 only found in fish, has the author ever heard of "grass fed" beef? Flax seed? I have little tolerance for such subtle misinformation posing as fact spewed out to paint a sympathetic portrayal of a company that engages in harmful business practices. But why should I expect anything else from a Business Week cheerleading journalist?


January 13, 2010 11:35 AM

BusinessWeek authors and all of us should be reading news stories like the one I found today. See excerpt below:

Study Links Monsanto GM Corn to Organ Failure

A new study claims to have uncovered new health effects caused by genetically modified corn from the agricultural giant Monsanto. The International Journal of Biological Sciences says GM corn helped cause organ damage in rats. The study’s author called Monsanto’s GM methods “a very serious mistake, dramatic for public health.”


January 13, 2010 11:40 AM

How big of BusinessWeek to give Monsanto a chance to address the stinging indictment that the movie Food Inc. has brought upon this giant of agribusiness. How about we allow others, like consumers, to be factored into the debate about how our food should be produced. Up to now we have been left out of the equation.


January 13, 2010 11:46 AM

Grant refused to appear in the movie because the overwhelming impact of Monstanto's biotech activities on our planet and health, WITHOUT ANY PUBLIC DEBATE, is undeniably bad on so many levels!

Michael Arndt

January 13, 2010 12:01 PM

I posted this blog not to act as Monsanto's PR agent, as Peter says, but to present the other side to the argument that was missing from Food Inc. Judging by the comments here, from the likes of TanyaLasagna, Concerned Mom, and Robert Laughing, I may have been wrong when I said that Grant might have blunted the movie's impact had he appeared in it. It seems you wouldn't believe Monsanto no matter what.

Let me ask you this follow-up question: If Monsanto could produce a better plant through its computer-aided cross-breeding research—without any inserting any genes as it did with Roundup Ready soybeans—would that be OK?

Nunya Biz

January 13, 2010 01:01 PM

Are the people and animals eating this stuff also RoundUp ready?

I'm guessing not...


January 13, 2010 05:28 PM

Where was the Monsanto pledge when Hugh Grant headed up the operation that smuggled GM seed illegally out of South Africa into Indonesia in containers labeled "Rice' Monsanto was fined millions for bribing Indonesian offials in this incident. Since then Grant got promotion in Monsanto!


January 13, 2010 05:39 PM

First, Roundup has never proven to be a health risk.

Second, it's very unlikely you ever ingest any Roundup. How about the farmers who mix hundreds of gallons of this stuff per year? You don't see them dropping dead or developing diseases?


January 13, 2010 06:26 PM

Farmer, are you with Monsanto? I've never seen anyone actually defend them like you are. What Monsanto has done is create a vicious circle where farmers have to buy its seeds because without doing it, the farmers would never make any money. Even now they are barely make a living, most of which comes from government subsidies paid to keep enormous amounts of their Monsanto corn and soybeans in the market so that they don’t get too expensive. Monsanto's products ruin soil, ruin nutrition and ruin the American agricultural tradition. By the way, there are a lot of chemicals used 30 or even 20 years ago that people are just now finding have very adverse side effects. Have you heard of cancer? Looks like people are dropping dead of diseases caused by the carcinogens in these chemicals.


January 13, 2010 07:40 PM

Michael, in response to your post... I think it's a good article you've written in that it keeps the debate on the important issue of our food alive. The question you pose about whether Monsanto were to produce a non GMO soybean seed raises just one part of a more complex issue. Beyond the debate of GMO in our food products, there are a multitude of other issues that call Monsanto's business practices / culture into question. For one thing, the company holds a monopoly on the biotech industry as you've aknowledged. Why are there no anti-trust actions effective at breaking it up? There is also the issue of how our environment has been impacted by agribusiness: the loss of native plant and wildlife, the runoff pollution it causes, greenhouse gases, etc. The aggregate effect of this is devastating to our environment. Yet another issue is the public debate which Monsanto has lobbied and fought government to "blunt" just as Grant thought he could blunt the impact of the movie. The premise of Food Inc. is firstly that we should know where our food comes from with labeling that gives us that information and secondly that there is a veil over an industry's practices that has up to now enjoyed and fought for secrecy because the public would not accept its practices, if it knew what was going on.

Concerned Mom

January 13, 2010 08:21 PM

Mr. Arndt,
Why would I believe someone in the agricultural business for overwhelming profit? I choose to put my trust in the local farmers, whom Monsanto and the government, have choked out of business. The farmers that would make a living out of a life they believe in. Monsanto consists of profit-hungry businessmen, as bad as the banking CEO's we hated for taking our money last year and giving out bonuses. They only answer to the Board of Directors of companies that don't represent the shareholders that have to invest in the companies in order to provide for their futures because the companies are shaving benefits and pensions to line their pockets. Do you see a trend here? I want them to think of my children, even their own grandchildren, who will inherit this mess...and the billions of dollars that will need to be spent to care for those who are being compromised by this greedy system. It may cost me more, but I'll sacrifice to try to provide my family with more healthy choices than GMO's, highly processed and other frankenfood that is a growing and overwhelming commodity on our grocer's shelves. Unless we defend ourselves, we continue to cowtow to the SELFISH greed of a few, while the masses suffer. Monsanto, GMOs, HFCS, BPA, whatever the situation, I just want people to think for themselves...what is the truth to all this?


January 13, 2010 09:28 PM

You can read all about Glyphosate, the chemical (also known as RoundUp) here in the Hazmat Database

Dropping dead from an incident of overexposure may not be the issue. Developing a degenerative disease by consuming foods that are doused in chemicals over a period of years is, to me, more likely the case.

Herbicides and Pesticides are generally toxic substances. It is safe to assume that long term exposure to toxins is, in effect, dangerous to human health. Since there are ALTERNATIVES to keeping your exposure at a minimum, I don't think we all should accept that food has to be sprayed with poison (even though a small amount in say, one serving). It's your long-term exposure you should be concerned about.

Anytime you have one corporation out there trumpeting their social and economic benefit to society, while at the same time selling millions of pounds of RoundUp that gets readily absorbed into our food and environment...I think what you really have is something damn near criminal.

It's the long, slow death that goes untraceable. Folks wonder why/how a large number of certain cancer types are caused. Coming from someone who watched a loved one slowly die from a cancer that was, in fact, linked to herbicide exposure, as acknowledged by the Veterans Administration - yes, I'm talking about Agent Organge, I simply want to GAG myself with Monsanto's PR spin to "feed the world". Folks, start doing some more research about what you are eating and how it is gown,treated before it gets to your mouth.

Deregulation of chemicals in the environment has run seriously rampant. What Food Inc exposes are those practices that government and multinationals like to sweep under that pretty little rug. And the cancers certainly boost those pharmaceutical sales. Is it any wonder that DOW Chemical is also in the pharmaceutical business while at the same time in the agricultural business? Check out their business lines on the their website. Looks like they cause problems on one hand, and then profit from "solving" them on the other hand. Disgusting.


January 13, 2010 11:57 PM

They ruin soil? Excuse me?

Get Over It

January 14, 2010 06:18 PM

Ok then, have your cute little community gardens and farmers markets and see how drastically your choice in foods change.


January 15, 2010 11:59 AM

Farmer.... All you do is state that everyone who opposes Monsanto is wrong... How about you provide facts and evidence that can PROVE Monsanto is a moral and ethical company. Their PR can claim all they want that they want to help the hungry and all that jazz, but in reality they only care about making money. What does it matter to them who suffers, so long as they are rich, right?
Let me quote you farmer, "Fact: Farmers CHOOSE TO USE MONSANTO'S PRODUCTS!! If they didn't want to plant Monsanto seed, they wouldn't."
Now let me tell you,
FACT: Farmer's do not have a choice any more. They either use Monsanto products, or they get run out of business. Even those who choose a more organic method of growing crops still feel the sting of Monsanto by getting sued for things such as, their neighbors seeds blowing onto their land.
If you were a real FARMER, then you wouldn't be kind to Monsanto. You are either a payed rep of the company, or just an extremely uneducated fool.
Personally, I think you may be both.


January 15, 2010 06:06 PM

Farmer, yes they ruin soil and if you were a farmer you would know why. The practice of just growing of one crop that Monsanto perpetuates causes the soil to loose nutrients. This is why agriculture was based on rotating crops. In addition chemicals ruin the soil and the run off ruins our water supplies.


January 16, 2010 01:30 PM

I think its misleading and inadequate to simply assert that there is not a shortage of food on the planet. An important follow-up to the question of food shortage is do we have sufficient food supply in the regions where it is needed? Also, is shipping food extensively rather than growing it nearby a truly effective strategy? Genetic engineering as a technology holds potential to help enable farmers in regions that cannot grow sufficient food to improve yields and attain viable harvests where it is infeasible currently. Also, genetic engineering could be used to improve the quality of people's food. Another point worth mentioning is that nearly all predictions point to impending food shortages in the next roughly fifty years. While the world's population is growing, the amount of quality farmland is decreasing. I just thought I'd throw out some food for thought.


January 18, 2010 02:38 AM

Perhaps the author, editor & fact checking staff should do some more research before they write such an article. Here are some popular references for you:

Non GMO Project -

Supreme Court to Hear First Genetically Engineered Crop Case - Posted on January 15, 2010

The DOJ is investigating Monsanto!

Oh, is Monsanto in the White House for four years?
Why are Monsanto Insiders Now Appointed to Protect Your Food Safety? - posted Oct 12th, 2009

Try watching these -
Deconstructing Supper

Bad Seed: The Truth About Our Food

The Fight For True Farming: Food Autonomy vs. Agribusiness

Food, Inc.: how industrial food is making us sicker, fatter and poorer - and what you can do about it

Food Matters

The Future of Food

Grocery Store Wars -​om/watch?v=hVrIyEu6h_E

Percy Schmeiser: David vs. Monsanto​om/watch?v=oPKoSrc99p4

Seeds of Deception
Everything You *Have to* Know About Dangerous Genetically Modified Foods:

The World According to Monsanto
here are additional links for this film:​/eng/collection/film/?id​=56004​ebextension/monsanto/fil​m.php

Millions Against Monsanto

Millions Against Monsanto

GMO Truth Alliance​GMOTruth

Another Case Against GMO Foods
GMO Food and Human Health: The Hidden Consequences

What are GMO's? GMO FREE means free of genetically modified organisms. Here's a short answer on what GMO's are & some good related links on it too:

Everything You HAVE TO KNOW About Dangerous Genetically Modified Foods
- from Jeffrey M. Smith, author of the Seeds of Deception and Genetic Roulette -

GMOs and Biotech Wreak Havoc on Food Supply:

Dr. Vandana Shiva

"Vandana Shiva is one of the leading anti-Monsanto people in the world."
http://survivingthem ​iddleclasscrash.wordpres​​ tiple-ways-monsanto-is-p​utting-normal-seeds-out-​of-reach/

Here specifically are links on Dr. Shiva and GMO foods:​m/search?hl=en&q=%22vand​ana+shiva%22+%22GMO%22&a​q=f&oq=&aqi=

Dr. Shiv Chopra​m/?page_id=2​m/search?source=ig&hl=en​&rlz=&=&q=shiv+chopra&bt​nG=Google+Search
Here specifically are links on Dr. Shiv Chopra and GMO foods:​m/search?hl=en&q=%22shiv​+chopra%22+%22GMO%22&aq=​f&oq=&aqi=


January 19, 2010 05:47 PM

Wow, if i listened to you people I would be blaming Monsanto for every wrong that there ever was. I debated on whether or not to comment, because I don't think any of you actually listen to any arguments or use reason to come to your conclusions.
I know you would hardly believe this source, but monsanto does address all of these issues here:

and just "for the record", monsanto products do not destroy the soil, in order to be a "farmer" you would know to rotate crops to keep healthy soil. Nothing about MOnsanto's products changes the fundamentals of agronomics.
You have all been eating Monsanto products for the last 10 years. There has yet to be any evidence of adverse health effects on animals or people.
If you know a better way to feed an ever INCREASING human population on an ever DECREASING amount of farmland, you let them know.
you can all do your part to make higher-yielding plants unnecessary...wear condoms and stop overpopulating the earth with your spawn.


January 19, 2010 07:43 PM

I have a problem with any company controlling the great majority of business in any sector. When that sector is our food supply I get more concerned. When we see a company infiltrating our government as Monsanto has been "allowed" to do, I get very alarmed! The idea of blindly accepting GM food as safe is astounding. Who has proved it is safe? Many reputable scientists are questioning that assumption. They are not crackpots on the payroll of Food, Inc. They also do not have their head in their butt, as someone suggested. They ask questions and get an eruption of outrage from said company's disciples. Should we listen to a company that was successfully sued over coverups about PCBs and Agent Orange? Also the idea that GM products produce higher yields is mostly more sales hype. Most farmers who buy into Monsanto's approach deal in mono-cultured crops, use chemical fertilizers and, of course, Roundup. This is an energy intensive, non-sustainable farming approach. Write to your reps in Congress. Ask for more investigation of GM products, labeling, and over sight in the FDA. Do not allow any company to monopolize our food supply. "You have all been eating Monsanto products for the last 10 years. There has yet to be any evidence of adverse health effects on animals or people." This was stated by one contributor, referring to Monsanto crops. This reminds one of the line about PCBs a few years ago. Be skeptical and don't buy into the company propaganda. Large corporations are amoral. They push and protect their interests.

Pro Earth

January 22, 2010 05:59 PM

From the Union of Concerned Scientists
Please click go to link for full report:

For years the biotechnology industry has trumpeted that it will feed the world, promising that its genetically engineered crops will produce higher yields.

That promise has proven to be empty, according to Failure to Yield, a report by UCS expert Doug Gurian-Sherman released in March 2009. Despite 20 years of research and 13 years of commercialization, genetic engineering has failed to significantly increase U.S. crop yields.

Failure to Yield is the first report to closely evaluate the overall effect genetic engineering has had on crop yields in relation to other agricultural technologies. It reviewed two dozen academic studies of corn and soybeans, the two primary genetically engineered food and feed crops grown in the United States. Based on those studies, the UCS report concluded that genetically engineering herbicide-tolerant soybeans and herbicide-tolerant corn has not increased yields. Insect-resistant corn, meanwhile, has improved yields only marginally. The increase in yields for both crops over the last 13 years, the report found, was largely due to traditional breeding or improvements in agricultural practices.

The UCS report comes at a time when food price spikes and localized shortages worldwide have prompted calls to boost agricultural productivity, or yield -- the amount of a crop produced per unit of land over a specified amount of time. Biotechnology companies maintain that genetic engineering is essential to meeting this goal. Monsanto, for example, is currently running an advertising campaign warning of an exploding world population and claiming that its “advanced seeds… significantly increase crop yields…” The UCS report debunks that claim, concluding that genetic engineering is unlikely to play a significant role in increasing food production in the foreseeable future.

The biotechnology industry has been promising better yields since the mid-1990s, but Failure to Yield documents that the industry has been carrying out gene field trials to increase yields for 20 years without significant results............


January 28, 2010 09:22 AM

The solution is simple:
If you believe Monsanto really has your best interests in mind, then please go buy their products. Eat, drink and be Merry! Who knows what 'unforeseen' side effects may or may not come manifest in 20 or 30 years, and frankly, who cares, right?

To the rest of us, find alternatives, vote with your wallets. Our decision to boycott may or may not effect Monsanto, who knows. But at least we won't have to worry about the possible side effects!

Personally, i'd rather not be a long term experiment. I know where I'm spending my cash!


January 31, 2010 04:11 PM

2010 will be the start of the tipping point for Monsanto. Legal action, activism, consumer awareness, etc. will eventually lead to the demise of this horrendous company.

A corporation responsible for dioxin, PCB's, agent orange, environmental disasters... is NOT THE APPROPRIATE STEWARD of the world's food supply. Period. End of story.

Nature has a wonderful system in place. We don't need GMOs and we definitely don't need Monsanto.


February 2, 2010 11:17 AM

David's Post on January 28th says it all for me. If you are stupid enough to believe Monsanto is the where all for our food supply, keep on a eatin'. But for those of us who believe it CAN be done differently, buy local! I know "Buy Local" can be somewhat ambigious, but with the world at our fingertips, you can find quality foods. We may not eat the quantity we once did, but we sure will be eating quality...and oh by the way, has anyone noticed how obese we, as as nation, are? A lot less food is certainly NOT going to hurt us!!


February 6, 2010 01:42 PM

Am I missing something? You start off by saying how Monsanto is seen "heartlessly hauling farmers into court," and that the article will tell the other side of the story. And then... there IS no other side to that story! It's just unsubstantiated BS that the company wants people to think it's doing to help.


February 8, 2010 02:41 AM

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



February 17, 2010 11:52 PM

Actions speak louder than words. This is true for Monsanto as well. The company LIED about PBC pollution. It FALSELY advertised that Roundup is biodegradable. It LIED about the RBH's effect on physiological changes in animals, which only came out after some internal company documents were leaked. It tried to BRIBE scientists from Canada's equivalent to FDA. Who can trust a company like this?


March 19, 2010 09:24 PM


"you can all do your part to make higher-yielding plants unnecessary...wear condoms and stop overpopulating the earth with your spawn."

Haven't you ever stopped to think that feeding an ever-increasing amount of people only leads to...well more people? The more people that are nourished, the more people that are around to generate more people.

It is true that unfortunately not enough of the world's population understands the ecological, social and economic value of birth control. However, poverty and lack of educational resources are largely to blame for this, and the power-hungry corporations and wealth-controlling banking structures in the hands of a few are largely to blame for the perpetuation of poverty (a.k.a. the unequal distribution of monetary resources) I am sure you can start to see the relativity here...

Regardless of who fails to wear condoms, or who tries to increase crop yield to account for that...the results will be the same -- more people living long enough to create more people.

When you peel through all of the reasons why population growth occurs, companies like Monsanto, although claiming to just be offering the solution, are really just as much a part of the problem.


March 26, 2010 10:56 PM

go Concerned Mom go!!!!!!!!!


April 14, 2010 11:52 AM


Even Monsanto's three month rat studies showed problems with liver and kidneys.

Why are we being used as guniea pigs?

Long term health testing should be required by the government. They aren't requiring it because Monsanto has too much political influence.


April 18, 2010 09:12 AM

There is definitely not a shortage of food. As someone else noted, it's simply access to food. Restaurants, school cafeterias and homes across the world toss tons of food daily. Grocery stores should be 90% produce instead of the processed hell that they are currently. It's easy to put the Monsanto's of the world in their place, if you really want to...just buy organic and cut WAY back on meat and boycott fast food. That's it!

Jeremy T

April 18, 2010 10:10 AM

The statement by Sophie "Why are we being used as guniea pigs?" has one answer and its "for the money".

There is a complacency between the FDA, Pharmaceutical industry, medical profession and government which creates a very profitable outcome. The "toxification" of American food is an intentional act that results in numerous health and mental issues that we see in today's society. Cancer, ADD/ADHD, High Blood Pressure, just to scratch the surface. The cost to protect ones self from these tainted foods is absorbent. Organic foods such as Grass-fed beef & chicken, fresh vegetables etc are financially untouchable to the average American home. This is a well oiled machine that has your health at its interest. That "diet coke" or "Soy milk" you may consume, leads to much more than you know. And its lucrative.

Farmers market vendor

April 23, 2010 03:20 PM

Recently our city (Dallas TX) is attempting to outlaw community gardens and place unreasonable fees on local farmers to sell their products at neighborhood farmers markets, using "food safety" as the reason. People want local food - but the Dallas Farmers Market allows produce from dealers from all over the world to be sold, rather than support the local farmers. Consequently, it is Dallas Farmers Market that has fostered the movement to close down it's competition from neighborhood farmers markets. And permits have to be purchased from the Dallas Farmers Market.

Follow the dollar and you'll find the perpetrator every time.


April 25, 2010 07:19 PM

Get real! If Monsanto's GMOs were safe they wouldn't care if they were tested all over the world in every lab available. I try to buy all organic, locally, from people I trust. Monsanto isn't doing a thing for the environment(earth/planet) or society -- only for the bottom line. Get rid of Monsanto!


April 28, 2010 09:37 PM

agent orange, gmos.....not a great connection.

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