Cargill Promotes Controversial “Food Safety” Technolo-gies:
Cargill has pushed technological xes for food safetychallenges that could be better addressed through stron-ger sanitation measures. Cargill testied to Congress thattreating meat with carbon monoxide would inhibit
growth days before a 2007 Cargill recall — and much of the recalled meat was treated with carbon monoxide.
Carbon monoxide treatment is not approved for inhibitingfoodborne-illness-causing bacteria, but it does extend thetime that meat stays red, which could deceive consumersinto believing it is fresher than it actually is.
Cargill alsouses irradiation in some of its meat processing operationsin an effort to kill bacteria.
Generally, in scientic studiesof animals, irradiated food has been shown to cause pre-mature death, stillbirths, mutations, immune system failureand stunted growth.
Cargill’s Relentless Free Trade Push:
Since the Nixonadministration,
Cargill insiders joined both Republicanand Democratic administrations to negotiate and promotefree trade deals that put agribusiness interests before theinterests of consumers or farmers. High prices for foodlike the corn and wheat that Cargill exports coincided withlow prices for the tropical crops like cotton and cocoa thatCargill purchases — a situation which benets Cargill butmakes the cost of food beyond the reach of many peoplein developing countries. Cargill was a staunch advocateof the World Trade Organization, the North AmericanFree Trade Agreement and China’s entry into the WTO. In2009, Cargill was still on key advisory committees of theU.S. Trade Representative.
Cargill’s Grain Trade Dominance Pressures Farmers:
Car-gill sells farmers many of the inputs they need, like fertil-izer and animal feed, and buys much of their output, suchas crops and livestock, for trading and processing.
As oneof the leading players in nearly all stages of production,
Cargill has a huge impact on farmers’ bottom lines. Inaddition, as a dominant buyer in the grain market, Cargill’ssupport of genetically modied crops effectively encour-ages farmers to grow these controversial crops. Cargill haspursued a joint venture with Monsanto, a company calledRenessen, which has released a genetically modied cropfor use in animal feed The company has also developeda technology that processes high-oil corn (often madefrom genetically modied corn) into biodiesel and animalfeed.
A lack of market opportunity for non-geneticallymodied crops drives farmers to grow the crops that grainprocessers want to buy.
Cargill Tropical Purchases Plagued with Charges of Envi-ronmental and Labor Exploitation.
Cargill’s global opera-tions have contributed to tropical rainforest clearing andit has been accused of ignoring widespread labor abuses— including forced child labor — in markets where it buystropical products.
Cargill Turns Blind Eye to Cocoa Slavery:
Cargill wassued for ignoring prevailing child labor abuses in the Côted’Ivoire cocoa plantations.
As a major cocoa buyer inthe region,
Cargill had the ability to prevent labor abusesbut chose to ignore the conditions instead, according tothe lawsuit.
Cargill Soybean Purchases Clear Brazilian Rainforest:
Cargill was targeted in a 2006 Greenpeace exposé for itscontribution to Brazilian rainforest destruction with anillegally built soybean export terminal and nancing theconversion of rainforest to soybean production.
Cargill Palm Oil Operations Contribute to Deforestation:
Cargill has sizeable palm oil operations in Southeast Asia.
Generally, palm oil production contributes to rainforestdestruction due to the “slash and burn” methods work-ers use to clear the plantations. These practices have alsopotentially made Indonesia the third-largest carbon emitterin the world, behind the United States and China.
Cargill Cotton UK Operates in Hotbed of Forced Child Labor
Cargill’s giant global cotton operation purchasesbetween $50 and $60 million worth of cotton from Uz-bekistan annually, although it denies having anything todo with picking cotton in the country.
Although Cargilldoesn’t own or pick the cotton, widespread forced childlabor in Uzbek cotton production is well-known.
Consumers eat Cargill’s industrial food products every daywithout even knowing it. Cargill’s considerable marketpower inuences what consumers eat and what farmersgrow — here in America and worldwide. The Obama ad-ministration has pledged to take on the corporate powersin agribusiness that hamper competition.
Cargill wouldbe a good place to start.