Food, Inc. Movie

Thank you for the opportunity to talk with you about the issues the film Food, Inc. raised regarding Monsanto.

The film highlights important topics. We certainly agree we must have safe food for our families, we have families, too. We should know where our food comes from.

We’ve heard from a number of you who have seen the film during the past several months. You have questions about Monsanto, our business practices, the safety of our products, and our relationship with farmers – who are essential not only to our business success but to global food security in the future – and we’re answering them.

These pages are intended to answer those questions and provide additional information not provided by the film, so you have a more complete picture of what we do and what we are working to accomplish in the years ahead.

 Monsanto answers your questions about the movie Food, Inc

Why do you sue farmers for saving seeds? Aren't many of them forced to settle their cases because they don't have the financial resources to go up against a large corporation in a lawsuit?

Monsanto files suit against farmers who breach their contracts and infringe our patents -- not against farmers who did not intentionally take these actions.

As a company dedicated to agriculture, Monsanto is committed to the success of farmers. Farmers are our customers, and we work hard to deliver products that meet their needs and expectations.

 Monsanto values every customer. A decision to file suit against a farmer is very carefully considered.  Every effort is made to resolve the matter outside of the litigation process, and when we do file suit it is because we feel it is the only option available to us. We need to meet our obligations to all the farmers who honor their commitments and who insist we maintain integrity in the market.

Curious about the allegations of intimidation? Read on.

How do we know biotech crops produce safe food?

Biotech crops and their food products have been used worldwide for about 14 years, since the first commercial planting in 1996. Since then, more than two trillion meals containing ingredients from biotech crops have been safely consumed.

In addition to the leading U.S. regulatory agencies, regulatory agencies in 25 different countries have independently assessed these products and concluded they are safe for human consumption and the environment.

Still worried biotech crops cause health concerns or other issues? Learn more.

Can a farmer be sued when a small amount of GM crop pollen blows into a neighbor's fields? Do you sue this farmer? Does he or she have to prove he or she is innocent?

It has never been, nor will it be, Monsanto policy to exercise its patent rights where trace amounts of our patented traits are present in farmers’ fields as a result of inadvertent means. We have no motivation to conduct business in this manner, nor have we ever attempted to conduct business in this manner -- and we surely would not prevail in the courts if we did.

Want more information? Keep reading.

Why did you sue a small farmer for cleaning seeds? What happened in the case of Moe Parr?

Even though farmers are free to clean, save and replant their own conventional seeds, most of them buy new seeds every year for one of two reasons:

  • They decide to take advantage of the benefits of new hybrid seeds, or
  • They choose the benefits of biotech seeds and have signed an agreement that they will not save and either sell or replant the seeds produced from the biotech seeds they bought from their chosen seed vendor.

Maurice (Moe) Parr is not a farmer. He has operated a seed cleaning business in Indiana for decades. Monsanto took legal action against Parr when we became aware he was involved in the illegal cleaning of patented seed -- and after years of efforts to manage the problem in other ways. He is able to continue to clean conventional soybeans, wheat and other non-patented seed crops, and Monsanto, in a gesture of good faith, has agreed to forego the financial judgment against Mr. Parr as long as he honors the terms of the court order.

Think Moe Parr's innocent? Find out other details about the case.

Have former Monsanto employees working in government compromised or unduly influenced government decisions on biotechnology?

Individuals with expertise in a certain subject matter often work in both the public and private sector during the course of their careers. However, federal laws carefully prevent conflict-of-interest situations when private sector employees take government jobs.

Food, Inc. uses an example of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to represent Monsanto’s alleged undue influence. What the movie does not say is Monsanto was not involved in biotechnology when Judge Thomas’ law firm worked for Monsanto. Nor does the movie mention the case in question involved a competitor of ours – Pioneer – not Monsanto.

If you still believe we have a revolving door in Washington, you’re not alone. Find out more.