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Cargill Fact Sheet

Cargill Fact Sheet

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Today, the global food system is in the hands of alarmingly few corporations that can run roughshod over consumer health, the environment and human rights. Cargill is one of these companies.
Today, the global food system is in the hands of alarmingly few corporations that can run roughshod over consumer health, the environment and human rights. Cargill is one of these companies.

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Published by: Food and Water Watch on Jan 16, 2010
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11/08/2012

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Cargill Fact Sheet
And Cargill has made a tidy prot doing it. Cargill is thelargest private U.S. company, with 160,000 workers in 67countries in 2009.
5
Even during the 2008 economic down-turn, Cargill reported sales of over $120 billion and recordprots of almost $4 billion, its sixth straight year of record-breaking earnings.
6
 
Cargill Proted from 2008 Food Crisis:
Cargill’s 2008record earnings were driven by the high grain and fertil-izer prices of that year. Generally, the high prices werealso responsible for pushing 130 million people around theworld to the brink of starvation. As Cargill CEO Greg Pageexplained, “Cargill had an opportunity to make more moneyin this environment, and I think that is something that weneed to be very forthright about.
7
High crop prices droveup fertilizer prices. In 2008, Cargill’s majority ownership infertilizer giant Mosaic Company was the largest contributorto its high earnings.
8
 
Cargill Recalled 20 Million Pounds of Beef and Poultry overPast Decade:
In 2000, Cargill recalled 16.7 million pounds of poultry products contaminated with
Listeria
that were linkedto four deaths and three miscarriages.
9
In 2002, a Cargillsubsidiary recalled 2.8 million pounds of ground beef con-taminated with
E. coli 
that sickened more than 50 people.
10
 In October 2007, Cargill recalled 845,000 pounds of fro-zen hamburger patties possibly contaminated with
E. coli 
.
11
 One month later, Cargill recalled another million pounds of ground beef because of possible
E. coli 
contamination.
12
 
T
oday, the global food system is in the hands of alarmingly few corporations thatcan run roughshod over consumer health, the environment and human rights.Cargill is one of these companies. While its name may not be on the package,Cargill produces many processed food ingredients consumers see in the ne printon food labels like high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated vegetable oils, citric acid,lecithin and xanthan gum.
1
It’s a top beef and pork packer, turkey processor andcattle feedlot operator.
2
Cargill is probably the largest grain trader in the world, withhundreds of grain terminals worldwide and a eet of cargo ships that can connectits global network of storage facilities.
3
It even provides eggs for McDonalds’breakfasts.
4
Cargill’s agribusiness empire effectively sets the American dinner menu,but consumers may not even know the company’s name.
FOOD
 
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 testied to Congress thattreating meat with carbon monoxide would inhibit
E. Coli 
 growth days before a 2007 Cargill recall — and much of the recalled meat was treated with carbon monoxide.
13
 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.
14
Cargill alsouses irradiation in some of its meat processing operationsin an effort to kill bacteria.
15
Generally, in scientic studiesof animals, irradiated food has been shown to cause pre-mature death, stillbirths, mutations, immune system failureand stunted growth.
16
Cargill’s Relentless Free Trade Push:
Since the Nixonadministration,
17
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 benets 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.
18
 
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.
19
As oneof the leading players in nearly all stages of production,
20
 Cargill has a huge impact on farmers’ bottom lines. Inaddition, as a dominant buyer in the grain market, Cargill’ssupport of genetically modied 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 modied cropfor use in animal feed The company has also developeda technology that processes high-oil corn (often madefrom genetically modied corn) into biodiesel and animalfeed.
21
A lack of market opportunity for non-geneticallymodied crops drives farmers to grow the crops that grainprocessers want to buy.
22
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.
23
As a major cocoa buyer inthe region,
24
Cargill had the ability to prevent labor abusesbut chose to ignore the conditions instead, according tothe lawsuit.
25
 
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.
26
 
Cargill Palm Oil Operations Contribute to Deforestation:
 Cargill has sizeable palm oil operations in Southeast Asia.
27
 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.
28
 
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.
29
 
Although Cargilldoesn’t own or pick the cotton, widespread forced childlabor in Uzbek cotton production is well-known.
30
Consumers eat Cargill’s industrial food products every daywithout even knowing it. Cargill’s considerable marketpower inuences 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.
31
Cargill wouldbe a good place to start.

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