Though critics will no doubt accuse Monsanto of greenwashing its products under the less-familiar Bayer brand, I’d like to argue that the nominal end of Monsanto is a good thing. Perhaps more than any other company, Monsanto became the emblem of distrust in the American food system, a stand-in for a range of anxieties about the roles technology and commerce play in determining what we eat.
The problem with this was that, too often, invoking Monsanto was used as an easy way out. The brand became a kind of bogeyman, used to stoke fear, revulsion, and division, rather than to encourage meaningful debate. And that was never good for the public discourse about genetically modified food, and the attendant ethical and environmental questions that surround it.
We need to be having more substantive conversations. Food technology is evolving rapidly. The climate is changing. Industries are consolidating. The only thing that’s for sure is that nothing is going to stay the same. And so as we continue to hurtle into 21st century, we can’t continue to let a fixation on one company overwhelm the conversation.
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