Let me start by saying that I am proud to work for Monsanto and am glad to address each of the issues in your question.
- Labeling—First of all, we are supportive of any voluntary labeling mechanism (e.g., organic or GMO-free) that is desired by consumers. Any company is free to make claims—if truthful and not misleading—that its products are free of GMOs.
- Food and Drug Administration (FDA) policy is that labeling is required if there is a meaningful difference between a GM food and its conventional counterpart. We oppose mandatory labeling of food and ingredients developed from GM seeds in the absence of any demonstrated risks, as it could be interpreted as a warning or imply that food products containing these ingredients are somehow inferior. There is a great article in Scientific American that articulates this well.
- Suing farmers—Monsanto has never sued a farmer in the situation that you described. We have a long-standing public commitment that “it has never been, nor will it be, Monsanto’s policy to exercise its patent rights where trace amounts of our patented seeds or traits are present in a farmer’s fields as a result of inadvertent means.”
- Agent Orange—War is tragic, and the Agent Orange story is complicated. There have been several court rulings stating that the companies that produced Agent Orange under contract of the government for the Vietnam War are not responsible for any implications.
We've posted a few responses regarding labeling, available here:
- Regardless as to whether or not you believe GMOs are good or bad-- what is the harm in labeling them so that consumers can make their own decisions? It is the number one thing you mention on the first welcome page of your website..that you "respect people around the world and their right to choose"
- If you are truly interested in opening the discussion, agree to full disclosure of any genetically modified ingredients in foods, or seeds. Why not?
- Why has Monsanto sued farmers who, by no fault of volition of their own, had their crops contaminated by GMO pollen blown into their fields?
- If some of your patented seeds from a farm growing them under contract with you, were to end up at a neighboring farm that is not under contract with you, what legal action would you take to either retrieve the seeds or the plants produced by the patented seeds? What legal action would your company take if the seeds ended up on the farm that is not under contract with you purely by an act of nature and produced plants?
And, with respect to statements about Agent Orange, please see the answer here: