Monsanto Name Will Disappear, Not Its Products

Monsanto may be gone soon, but there will still be reasons to march. (Photo: a katz/Shutterstock)

"What's in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet."

This well-known quote by William Shakespeare from "Romeo and Juliet" was simply too perfect to resist.

Monsanto, a company best known for manufacturing the weed killer Roundup, genetically modified crops (also known as GMOs), and suing farmers for known and unknown use of the company's patented seeds, will soon no longer be known as Monsanto.

The American company was bought by German company Bayer for $63 billion, according to CNBC. Bayer will keep all of Monsanto's operations intact, but Bayer will discontinue the use of the name Monsanto. Though that name has been around for 117 years, in the past couple of decades, it has been a name with many negative associations, including several Marches Against Monsanto over the years.

By discontinuing the Monsanto name, Bayer seems to be disassociating itself from the Monsanto name while keeping the products and practices — the things people march against — exactly as they are.

What will happen when there's no Monsanto to march against? March Against Bayer won't have the same impact (nor the same alliteration) because the majority of consumers won't realize that Monsanto's products are now Bayer's products. And Bayer has so many other products and brands in various categories that a march against the company could easily be confusing. (Why march against aspirin and Dr. Scholl's?)

Even before this merger, Bayer wasn't simply a pharmaceutical company. It owns brands in many categories, including agriculture.

So, what's in a name?

Monsanto Roundup by another name will still contain glyphosate. But when it's called Bayer Roundup, will consumers care?

If they're informed, they will.

The name Monsanto is about to disappear. Concerns about many products that will now fall under the Bayer name should not.