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Bayer to Drop the Monsanto Name After Takeover

June 05, 2018
Center for Food Safety

Bayer to Drop the Monsanto Name After Takeover

This week, the $63 billion takeover of Monsanto by the German pharmaceutical and life sciences company Bayer will be finalized. Today, Bayer announced that it will retire the U.S.-based Monsanto's 117 year-old name. Bayer will remain the company name, and Monsanto will no longer be a company name. Monsanto's acquired products, including products such as the herbicide Roundup, will retain their brand names and become part of the Bayer portfolio.

"Given the international rejection of GMOs, and Monsanto's brand name being in shambles, it is not surprising that Bayer has decided to drop the name altogether," stated Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of Center for Food Safety. "However, Bayer should not assume that just by dropping a name they have dropped the liability. The worldwide food and environmental movements know that Bayer is now the "new Monsanto."

On May 29, the Department of Justice (DoJ) approved the merger of two of the world's largest pesticide-seed conglomerates, Bayer AG and the Monsanto Company.

The DoJ refused to reject the merger despite finding it would result in excessive concentration in 17 separate markets involving genetically engineered (GE) soybean, cotton, canola and corn, the pesticides used with them, and vegetable seeds. Instead, it is forcing Bayer to divest certain seed, GE trait and pesticide assets to German chemical giant BASF.

Bayer has a large suite of weed-killing pesticides (aka herbicides), and is also a world leader in seed treatments â?? insecticides and fungicides â?? that are applied to seeds, and are taken up into plant tissues of the growing seedling. Certain seed treatments (neonicotinoids) are highly toxic to pollinators, and have been implicated in the decline of honeybees and wild bee populations.

"The merger will incentivize further intensification of pesticide use, in two ways," said Bill Freese, science policy analyst at Center for Food Safety. "We are likely to see accelerated introduction of still more herbicide-resistant GMOs, which promote increased use of herbicides, rapid evolution of resistant weeds, and greater levels of herbicide residues in food," he added. "Another threat is herbicidal drift damage to neighboring crops," he said, noting that Monsanto's dicamba-resistant, Xtend crop system caused unprecedented drift injury to millions of acres of soybeans and other crops last year.

The merger will also increase already high levels of concentration in the seed and pesticide markets, following the recent unions of Dow and DuPont (DowDuPont) and ChemChina's acquisition of the Swiss giant, Syngenta.

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