ST. LOUIS (AP) — The Justice Department is investigating whether Monsanto Co. violated antitrust rules in trying to expand its dominance of the market for genetically engineered crops, the company says.
Monsanto has provided interviews and documents to the Justice Department over the past two months, company spokesman Lee Quarles said. He said the department has questioned Monsanto about its marketing tactics in the biotech seed industry, which have become a target of criticism.
Quarles said Monsanto has done nothing illegal and is cooperating with the investigation.
"We definitely stand behind our business," he said.
The department's investigation of Monsanto is part of a previously announced inquiry into consolidation in the seed industry. The department is looking into Monsanto's licensing agreements with seed companies.
St. Louis-based Monsanto is the world's biggest seed company, and its patented genes are inserted into a majority of U.S. corn and soybean crops. Critics say Monsanto has used its market clout to squeeze competitors.
A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to confirm or deny the investigation.
The department has interviewed two of Monsanto's biggest rivals, Delaware-based DuPont and Swiss biotech firm Syngenta AG, about Monsanto's business practices. Both companies said they are cooperating with the probe.