McNeill made an interesting comparison to the Boulder Weekly reporter: "Just as DDT was initially hailed as a miracle pesticide and later banned, researchers are beginning to discover serious problems with glyphosate."
Monsanto's real PR headache involves one of its flagship products very much in the here and now: the herbicide Roundup (chemical name: glyphosate), upon which Monsanto has built a highly profitable empire of "Roundup Ready" genetically modified seeds.
According to USDA scientist Robert Kremer, who spoke at a conference last week, Roundup may also be damaging soil—a sobering thought, given that it's applied to hundreds of millions of acres of prime farmland in the United States and South America.
So let's get this straight: The head of the USDA's crop-research service agrees that Roundup damages soil and thinks the superweed problem is even more troublesome. In the face of these two menaces, you might expect the USDA to intervene to curtail Roundup use. But Shannon meant his statement as a rationale for ignoring Kremer's work. Meanwhile, the USDA keeps approving new Roundup Ready crops—ensuring that the herbicide's domain over US farmland will expand dramatically.