Monsanto is a world leader in industrial agriculture, providing the seeds for 90 percent of the world’s genetically modified crops. Once a chemical company based in the US, Monsanto has transformed into an international life sciences company, aiming to solve world hunger and protect the environment.
Filmmaker Marie-Monique Robin, however, exposes the company’s troubling past, in her recent film, The World According to Monsanto. In an interview with The Real News Network, she discusses Monsanto’s controversial practices from a producer of PCBs and Agent Orange to genetically modified seeds and related herbicides.
Starting from the Internet over a period of three years Robin has collected material for her documentary, going on to numerous interviews with people of very different backgrounds. She traveled widely, from Latin America, to Asia, through Europe and the United States, to personally interview farmers and people in influential positions.
As an example of pro-Monsanto interviews, she talked at length with Michael Taylor who has worked as a lawyer for Monsanto and also for the Federal Drug Administration (FDA), where he had great influence on the legalization of the genetically modified bovine growth hormone (BGH). It also became FDA policy during Taylor’s tenure that GM seeds are declared to be “substantially equivalent to non-GM seeds, hence proclaiming proof of the harmlessness of GMs to be unnecessary. Michael Taylor is a typical example of technocrats employed via ‘the revolving door policy’. He is now head of the Washington, D.C. office of Monsanto Corporation.