At least seven US state attorneys general are investigating whether Monsanto Company has abused its market power to lock out competitors and raise prices on seed. Iowa, Illinois, Ohio, Texas, Virginia, and two other unidentified states are in a working group to investigate the biotech giant.
The states are probing whether Monsanto violated laws by offering rebates to seed distributors for excluding rival seeds, imposing limits on combining the product with other genetic modifications, or offering cash incentives to switch farmers to more expensive generation of seed varieties.
The state investigations add to pressure on Monsanto. The US Justice Department is investigating the company’s marketing practices, and DuPont Company has accused Monsanto of anti-competitive practices in licensing litigation.
And Monsanto’s stock price is down more than 30%, from $93.35 in May to a 52 week low of $63.75 Friday.
For a couple of years, the Institute for Responsible Technology has predicted that the US would soon experience a tipping point of consumer rejection against genetically modified foods; a change we’re all helping to bring about. Now a December article in Supermarket News supports both our prediction and the role the Institute is playing.
“The coming year promises to bring about a greater, more pervasive awarenes” of the genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in our food supply, wrote Group Editor Robert Vosburgh, in a trade publication that conventional food executives and retailers use as a primary source of news and trends in the industry. Vosburgh describes how previous food “culprits” like fat and carbs “can even define the decade in which they were topical,” and suggests that GMOs may finally burst through into the public awareness and join their ranks.
Vosburgh credits two recent launches with “the potential to spark a new round of concern among shoppers who are today much more attuned to the ways their food is produced.” One is our Institute’s new non-GMO website, which, he says, “provides consumers with a directory of non-GMO brands . . . developed ‘for the 53% of Americans who say they would avoid GMOs if labeled.’”