Genetically modified organisms, GMOs are subject of many controversies from their inception until now. The social networks abound comments from the “experts” that GMO represent the food as a joke.
But do not allow such unserious Twitter users to trick you, GMO is a very serious topic and it affects everyone.
For example in the US all corn is genetically modified and it is later used to produce a multitude of products. One company first started the business with GMO foods, and it is Monsanto.
Monsanto is the largest seed company in the world. It was originally formed as a chemical manufacturer in 1901 by John Francis Kuen.
John at the time was about 40 years old and in his youth he had a hard life. The Great Chicago Fire in 1871 left his family without a roof over their head when he was just 12 years old.
Therefore, John interrupted his education and began working in one company for production of medicines, as an assistant and supplier.
With his hard work and dedication, John climbed the ladder in the pharmaceutical industry, and in 1891 moved to St. Louis, representing the Meyer Brothers Drug Company, which was then the largest distributor in the world.
5 years later, John married Olga Monsanto and when he decided to start his own business in 1901, he named the company after her. John founded Monsanto to produce Saccharin, an artificial sweetener that is 300 times sweeter than sugar and has no effective nutritional value.
Saccharin was synthesized in 1879 and although today is very popular at that time no one in the US have heard of him. Germany has held the monopoly of production in Europe and in the US there was no producer. John was the first in the United States who began with production and business and he has been very profitable.
By 1905 John added 2 more food additives, vanillin and coumarin, which were also produced only in Germany. The first decade Monsanto had not have such a big profit because of the competition from Germany.
But when in 1917 the United States declared war on Germany, the imports were banned and Monsanto’s work started to grow. Revenues jumped from 81,000 dollars in 1913 to 905 thousand dollars in 1919, making Monsanto the biggest company in the US in that area.
In 1919 Monsanto was showed to the world market, so they bought the Welsh chemical producer, which was producing aspirin and rubber catalysts at that time. Monsanto continues to spread in the production of industrial chemicals such as Polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB). Now PCB can be found in 209 molecular configurations and is very toxic.It has been proven that PCB is carcinogenic and environmental pollutant that is resistant to acid and heat.
And if you think that chemicals are used only in rare cases, you’re wrong. PCB was used as a coolant in many electric appliances, power transformers and capacitors until the substance was banned in 1979.
Documents found in 2002 show that the Monsanto was aware of the toxicity of the substance. In fact the first move of Monsanto to bypass the environmental law occurred in 1926, when the company bought a town in Illinois, calling it, of course, Monsanto.
Back then, the environmental laws were regulated at the local level and the company has created their mild laws and they built the biggest factory for PCB. This city still exists, but now called Sauget and has 159 inhabitants.
In the time of the Second World War, Monsanto was the main supplier of chemicals for the US military. Their most valuable product of that time was Styrene, which was an important component in the production of synthetic rubber.
Monsanto was involved in the “Manhattan Project” because they participated in the preparation of polonium, one of the main elements used in atomic bombs dropped on Japan.
In the postwar period, Monsanto entered in agriculture, through the production of pesticides. The first pesticide DDT (dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane), came on the market in 1944 and was banned 30 years later due to its toxicity.
Another herbicide that the US military used in the war with Vietnam and Orange agent. They destroyed the possessions in Vietnam but they were so toxic it contaminated over 3 million people and half a million Vietnamese children were born with deformities.
In 1970 Monsanto started with producing LED lights, in fact they were the first company that started with mass production. In order to recover from the lawsuits that they lost with the state, Monsanto began with production of biotechnology.
In 1983 a group of scientists from Monsanto, led by Robert Frau became the first people who created the genetically modified plants. Here began a new era in agriculture, the era of GMOs. The reason why GMO is viewed so negatively is that history repeats itself.
The people create а useful thing and because of their greed they convert it into a bad thing. GMO food is a perfect example of it. Тhere are many ways to make the genetically modified food so well that it will not harm the people. But Monsanto took the “game” of GMOs to a whole new level.
They discovered the glyphosate, which is a extremely potent herbicide that saved the company from bankruptcy. Monsanto marked the herbicide as the “Roundup”, and for 2 decades this herbicide is most used container in the USA.
Its success is due to the development of GMOs by Monsanto. Before, the farmers needed to plant the crops away from each other because they needed space to be able to cultivate the field, otherwise the grass will grow up around them and can destroy them
. Monsanto created the GMO plants to be resistant to “Roundup”, so the farmers now can plant their plants closer and there is no need to clean the grass so they will only splash the GMO plants with “Roundup”. Almost all major farmers switched to this GMO solution because it reduces their labor as well as their costs. Monsanto is the only manufacturer of “Roundup” in the world. Till this date they have spent more than $ 10 billion in finding new pesticides and seeds.
Just in the last year they spent $ 1.5 billion but it has paid off. 2 years ago Monsanto owned 80% of cornfields in the US and that number continues to grow. Why Monsanto is so successful is due to their strict rules about what can the farmers do when they buy their seeds.
They are not allowed to sell or share the seeds with each other, even if the wind take the seeds to a neighboring farm, the owner of the seeds will be responsible for it.
Monsanto in 1997 tried to enable a new start through the company “Solution” from which it claimed to be a new company in the market and have no connection with Monsanto.
But of course none of that was true, the same directors and the same people who worked at Monsanto for decades were head in this company that went bankrupt after 6 years.
Monsanto today are greater than ever. The revenues for the last year were $ 15 billion, and half of that income is from the sale of the “Roundup”.
The German pharmaceutical giant Bayer is trying to merge with Monsanto for 4 months. A few days ago Monsanto accepted a cash offer of 66 billion dollars which needs a further approvals but in the last 14 months.
They have merged with 6 of the largest companies in the industry, and it will not be a big surprise if the same thing happen with these 2 companies.
From an investment point of view there is a great sense to buy shares of the company that controls the world’s reserves of food but sometimes it is good to give up the profits in order to make the world a better place to live.