Foodie Profiling: Monsanto Lobbying Makes Bank

Monsanto moneyYou have to spend money to make money. And Monsanto makes a ton of money. So, it stands to reason that Monsanto is also spending boatloads in the form of lobbyists to push their “food” products into the market.

Food Safety News (FSN) covered this topic in depth earlier this month, calling the St. Louis, Mo. company a “lobbying powerhouse.” U.S. Rep. Louise Slaughter recently asked 60 food businesses last week to release details about their policies on antibiotics in meat and poultry, but more than half do not employ Washington D.C. lobbyists for the meat industry.

Monsanto was left off the list. So, why is FSN calling them a powerhouse? FSN decided to look into their lobbying disclosure forms for other lobbying efforts, though Monsanto presumably has nothing to do with antibiotics.

Poor Monsanto just can’t stay out of the press, though it’s not like a large corporation lobbying is any newsworthy item. Not far from the White House, “Monsanto runs a well-greased lobbying shop,” wrote FSN, “at a cost of $1.21 million last quarter.” Included in this sum are seven registered lobbyists, and this huge list of other players in the crop game:

  • For foreign trade: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, the nation’s top lobbying firm
  • For international corporate tax reform: The Washington Tax Group
  • For Roundup Ready sugar beets and alfalfa: Crawford Quilty & Mauro Law Firm
  • Pesky Biotech crop competition and the America Invents act: American Continental Group, The Russell Group

These contractors, according to FSN, cost Monsanto about $285,000 per quarter. So, they don’t have to spend very much money to make a pile of it.

The main goals of these lobbyists seems to be keeping Roundup and Roundup Ready seeds at high demand, keeping biotech in Monsanto’s hands while inspiring competition to keep the profits high and making sure taxes and trade are at agreeable levels.

Monsanto may not be in the meat game, but they have a whole lot of other power to fall back on.

Recently, a lawsuit against Monsanto by the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association led the courts to say organic interests are engaging in a “transparent effect to create a controversy where non exists.” Meanwhile, hacker group Anonymous, which isn’t affiliated with any organic association, or even any agricultural organization at all, called out Monsanto for endangering the world’s food supply.

Monsanto isn’t the only powerhouse on the block, however. Tyson Foods, McDonald’s, Cargill, Smithfield, Hormel, Starbucks, Kroger, Safeway, Wegmans and Kraft were all listed as members of the food industry spending roughly 40 million dollars lobbying the government last year.

Though less than half of those 60 business pinpointed by Rep. Slaughter can be directly tied to the meat industry, she definitely has her eye on them.

{Image Credit: Flickr Creative Commons, 401K}

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1 thought on “Foodie Profiling: Monsanto Lobbying Makes Bank”

  1. Thank you for the information! We do our best to promote locally grown, organic (key) produce bought from farmers’ markets with our weekly Farm Fresh video and audio segments. We need to shift the money power… one purchase at a time :)

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