Monsanto Proposes to Change Its Name to Escape Its PR Woes

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Is Monsanto trying to escape its ugly history by ditching its name? A proposed merger with Syngenta suggests a new name for the combined biotech companies to reflect its “unique global nature.” Just another PR ploy.

Documents released today by Syngenta include a letter from Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant to Syngenta, suggesting as a part of a corporate merger that, “We would also propose a new name for the combined company to reflect its unique global nature.”

“Monsanto wants to escape its ugly history by ditching its name,” said Gary Ruskin, co-director of U.S. Right to Know, a consumer group. “This shows how desperate Monsanto is to escape criticism: of its products, which raise environmental and health concerns, as well as concerns about corporate control of agriculture and our food system.”

In a 2014 Harris Poll gauging the reputations of major corporations, Monsanto’s “reputation quotient” ranked 58 out of 60 companies. In other words, it was the third most hated company measured.

“Monsanto is much like Philip Morris when it changed its name to Altria,” Ruskin said. “Monsanto wants us to forget about its old scandals like PCBs and Agent Orange, as well as the serious questions swirling around Roundup and GMOs.”

U.S. Right to Know is a new nonprofit food organization that investigates and reports on what food companies don’t want us to know. In January, U.S. Right to Know released a report, titled Seedy Business, on the agrichemical and food industries’ PR campaign to defend GMOs. For more information about U.S. Right to Know, please see our website at usrtk.org.

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