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Mitchel Cohen

There are a handful of companies in existence that with the mere mention of their name can spark spurious debate. One of, if the not the biggest example of such a company has got to be Monsanto. Known and loathed the world over, yet incredibly difficult to escape their far-reaching grasp, Monsanto has pervasively made its way into our everyday lives. Riddled with controversy, predatory lawsuits, and a revolving door between director boards and government seats, they are the focal point of this week’s guest on The Malliard Report.

Founded in 1901 by John Frances, Monsanto started as a chemical company in St. Louis Missouri with the capital from a soft drink distributor. In the infancy stages Monsanto began creating commodity food additives such as saccharin (a now commonly known carcinogen…see a trend here?), caffeine, and vanillin. Monsanto continued on and began purchasing companies involved in pharmaceuticals, food, and even founded their own town in 1926 so as to avoid taxation and avoid stricter environmental regulations. (At the time, most environmental standards were put into place by local jurisdictions.)

During the second world war Monsanto began their venture into military projects and began partnerships National Defense Research Committee (NDRC). This juncture included the involvement of Leslie Groves, James Conant, Robert Oppenheimer, and many others. Monsanto were the leads for the Dayton Project, the creation of Mound Laboratories, and assisted in the development of the first nuclear weapons. Additionally, during the 1960s and 1970s, Monsanto was the creator and distributor of “Agent Orange”; the highly controversial defoliant used by the United Stated Armed Forces during the Vietnam War.

Monsanto is also infamously known for many other “for the good” ventures that actually seem quite nefarious. The widespread use of genetically modified food production, falsified or non-peer reviewed publications, copyright lawsuits on crops, and a plethora of cancer-causing consumer grade products have certainly left a foul taste in the people’s mouth. So much in fact that Monsanto has been banned from many different countries for a multitude of reasons. (The use of glyphosate, GMO products, etc.) In a recent land mark purchase, Bayer acquired Monsanto in a 66-Billion-dollar deal and has dropped the Monsanto name in hopes to “regain consumer trust.” But does changing the name actually make anything better? Will the practices that have been in play for over a hundred years change?

So, with all of that, we welcome to the show this week Mitchel Cohen. Mitchel “…coordinates the No Spray Coalition in New York City, which successfully sued the City government over its indiscriminate spraying of toxic pesticides. In 1997, he organized the campaign to rid NYC public schools of milk from cows injected with genetically engineered Bovine Growth Hormone, and in 2001, he ran for Mayor of NYC as one of five Green Party candidates. He was editor of the national newspaper Green Politix, and of the NY State Green Party newspaper…” Mitchel is also an author of multiple publications including his most recent The Fight Against Monsanto’s Roundup: The Politics of Pesticides.

Mitchel provides some incredible insight to the inner workings of the company and how they have been able to get away with what they have for so long. You can purchase Mitchel’s works through all major retailers, but recommends visiting your smaller brick and mortar store. Remember to visit our great sponsor to get your excellent t-shirt and for all things head over to for past shows, to sign up for the newsletter, and so much more. You can connect with Jim through Twitter @malliard

Link to the story mentioned by Jim