The proposed $66bn acquisition of agrochemical company Monsanto by Bayer has passed its final regulatory hurdle after the US Department of Justice (DOJ) approved the deal, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Despite hundreds of groups in the food and farming industries opposing the acquisition, reports suggest it was confirmed by the DOJ ‘after the companies pledged to sell off additional assets’. This was a key concession that swayed the decision of the European Commission to approve the takeover in March.

Food & Water Watch executive director Wenonah Hauter said: “The approval of the third supersized seed merger, after ChemChina-Syngenta and Dow-DuPont leaves farmers vulnerable to price gouging for seeds and other supplies and strengthens the hold a few dominant corporations have over the entire food system.

“The DOJ’s rubber stamping of these three seed mega-mergers transforms the already concentrated agrichemical and seed market, effectively reducing the number of competitors from six to three.”

Not only will the merger make it more difficult for farmers to procure non-genetically modified seeds, but the decision also shows that the federal government is not taking the corporate monopolisation of the food industry seriously, according to Hauter.

“It’s time for Congress to establish a moratorium on mega-mergers in the food system,” she added.

Friends of the Earth food and technology campaign associate Jason Davidson agreed the takeover may have potentially damaging implications, saying in a statement: “The DOJ has decided that corporate profits matter more than the interests of consumers and farmers. This decision will massively increase the power of major agrochemical companies that already have a stranglehold on our food system.

“This merger from hell will further entrench the failing model of toxic, chemical intensive agriculture, which is poisoning people and the planet.”

A recent poll conducted by Farm Aid found that 94% of US farmers expressed concerns over the acquisition, while 89% said that it would lead to an increase in chemically-dependent farming.