Cigarettes can kill and so could our food!
Having been busy for the last few months training new people that may one day become chefs, hopefully! I thought l would change tac with a post on this company, so relevant in the news for many reasons!
The company Monsanto was founded in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1901, by John Francis Queeny, a 30‑year veteran of the pharmaceutical industry. He funded the start-up with his own money and capital from a soft drink distributor and gave the company his wife’s maiden name. His father-in-law was Emmanuel Mendes de Monsanto, a wealthy financier of a sugar company active in Vieques, Puerto Rico, and based in St. Thomas in the Danish West Indies. The company’s first product was the artificial sweetener saccharin, which was sold to the Coca-Cola Company.
Monsanto expanded to Europe in 1919 by entering a partnership with Graesser’s Chemical Works at Cefn Mawr, near Ruabon Wales, to produce vanillin, aspirin and its raw ingredient salicylic acid, and later rubber processing chemicals. This site was later sold and closed in 2010. In the 1920s Monsanto expanded into basic industrial chemicals like sulfuric acid and PCBs, and Queeny’s sonEdgar Monsanto Queeny took over the company in 1928.
In 1926 the company founded and incorporated a town called Monsanto in Illinois (now known as Sauget). It was formed to provide a liberal regulatory environment and low taxes for the Monsanto chemical plants at a time when local jurisdictions had most of the responsibility for environmental rules. It was renamed in honour of Leo Sauget, its first village president.
In 1936 Monsanto acquired Thomas & Hochwalt Laboratories in Dayton, Ohio in order to acquire the expertise of Charles Allen Thomas and Dr. Carroll A. (“Ted”) Hochwalt and made it into Monsanto’s Central Research Department.:340-341 Thomas spent the rest of his career at Monsanto until his retirement in 1970, during which time he served as President (1951–60) and Chairman of the Board (1960–65). In 1943, Thomas was called to a meeting in Washington DC with Brig. Gen. Leslie Groves, commander of the Manhattan Project, and with James Conant, president of Harvard University and chairman of the National Defense Research Committee (NDRC). They urged Thomas to become co-director of the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos with Robert Oppenheimer, but Thomas was reluctant to leave Dayton and Monsanto. Thomas joined the NDRC, and Monsanto’s Central Research Department began to conduct research for the Manhattan Project under contract from the US government To that end, Monsanto operated the Dayton Project, and later Mound Laboratories, and assisted in the development of the first nuclear weapons.
In 1946, it developed “All” laundry detergent and began to market it; they sold the product line to Lever Brothers in 1957. In 1947, one of its factories was destroyed in the Texas City Disaster.Monsanto acquired American Viscose from England’s Courtauld family in 1949. In 1954 Monsanto partnered with German chemical giant Bayer to form Mobay and market polyurethanes in the United States.
Monsanto began manufacturing DDT in 1944, along with some 15 other companies. This insecticide was much welcomed in the fight against malaria-transmitting mosquitoes. Due to DDT’s toxicity, its use in the United States was banned in 1972. In 1977 Monsanto stopped producing PCBs; the United States Congress banned domestic PCB production two years later. In the 1960s and 1970s, Monsanto was also one of the most important producers of Agent Orange for United States Armed Forces operations in Vietnam.
In the mid‑1960s, William Standish Knowles and his team invented a way to selectively synthesize enantiomers via asymmetric hydrogenation. This was an important advancement because it was the first method for the catalytic production of pure chiral compounds. Using this method, Knowles’ team designed the “first industrial process to chirally synthesize an important compound” —L‑dopa, which is currently the main drug used to treat Parkinson’s disease. In 2001 Knowles and Ryōji Noyori won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. In the mid-1960s chemists at Monsanto developed the Monsanto process for making acetic acid, which until 2000 was the method most widely used to make this important industrial chemical. In 1965 Monsanto chemists inventedAstroTurf, which the company then commercialized.
Monsanto scientists became the first to genetically modify a plant cell in 1982. Five years later, Monsanto conducted the first field tests of genetically engineered crops.
In 1985, Monsanto acquired G. D. Searle & Company, a life sciences company focusing on pharmaceuticals, agriculture, and animal health. In 1993, Monsanto’s Searle division filed a patent application for Celebrex, which in 1998 became the first selective COX‑2 inhibitor to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Celebrex became a blockbuster drug and was often mentioned as a key reason for Pfizer‘s acquisition of Monsanto’s pharmaceutical business in 2002.
These are of course extracts from places like Wikipedia and others, but they lead me to one really important conclusion, looking at the type of company that drifts into pharmaceuticals and back into food using the old adage ,that to feed this burgeoning population we need to use scientific technology, really does not wash with a 30 year plus chef! I have had to cater for 300 or 3000 the numbers are just the same it is just portioning food, well as a country eating far too much, that is not good for us and with green belt land in the UK at least, still widely available ,l suggest going back to an agricultural based farming system! I have no problems with subsidising farmers, that will use organic methods widely, neither do l have a problem with growing certain foods, rather than convince us via so many celebrity chefs, about the benefits of fruits and veg from abroad! Of course supermarkets have climbed on the gravy train of popular foods, importing them rather than use local produce, also increasing the carbon footprint!
The real problem l have is, if we let so-called corporations like this huge growing conglomerate to take over mass production of food from seed, to table, one day very soon we will be picking up pieces of an increasing number of people with diseases never heard of, and no hope of a cure, as we do not know the cause!
I was told many a year ago “We are what we eat” and l have found that you can with time wean people off medication, potions and powders as long as they get a simple healthy diet of good nutritious food!
So say #No2GMO and support people who want food from the dirt under their fingers, and sweat of their brow! As we come from the ground and one day we will return to the ground, and we do not want to find that our bodies will not feed the worms, but poison them as well!
Thanks for taking time to read l will add a poll to this asking for people to vote for, against and not sure about GMO and this company called simple MONSANTO!
Regards, Chef CJ