(Brussels, Belgium) A new fact sheet issued today by consumer group Food & Water Europe examines how Cargill, the agribusiness giant and one of the key players in the global food market, is posing harm to consumer health, workers and the environment and causing food instability around the world. Cargill, a leading oilseed and grain processor and top U.S. meat packer, is the largest private company in the U.S., with 160,000 employees in 67 countries and operations in 21 European countries. Cargill seemingly escaped the economic downturn in 2008 by reporting sales of over 83 billion Euros and record profits of over 2.5 billion Euros, its sixth straight year of record-breaking earnings. However, recently, its net profit for the fourth fiscal quarter was down by 69 percent from the same period last year. Maybe it is time for Cargill to rethink its operations, since it benefited from the race in commodities prices which started in 2002, particularly in the last two years when food prices swelled.
Cargill has gained control over huge swaths of the world‚ agricultural system, and its ability to influence food prices is pushing millions of people around the world to the brink of starvation,” said Food & Water Europe Executive Director Wenonah Hauter.
Key findings of the fact sheet include:
- Cargill‚ record earnings in 2008 were driven by its ability to influence high grain and fertilizer prices that year, which, in turn, caused food instability around the world.
- Cargill‚ operations pose a threat to the environment, and its operations in Brazil and Papua New Guinea have been liked to a number of destructive environmental practices, including clearing rainforests to expand its production of soya beans and palm oil.
- Cargill is linked to questionable food technologies, including genetically modified crops and foods.
- Cargill is linked to human rights violations, including forced child labour in its cotton operations in Tashkent, Uzbekistan and Central Asia and child slavery in its cocoa operations in Cote dIvoire.
Food and Water Europe is the program of Food and Water Watch, Inc (a non-profit consumer NGO based in Washington, DC), working to ensure clean water and safe food in Europe and around the world. We challenge the corporate control and abuse of our food and water resources by empowering people to take action and transforming the public consciousness about what we eat and drink.