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“Packaged Foods Exposed”

January 25, 2009

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CargillFollowing in the foodsteps of the Packaged Foods Exposed series, the Agri-Business Exposed series will explore the major agricultural companies whose names are rarely heard by the eating public.

The ingredients entering into the staples of our diet rarely, if ever, originate from the company that produced the final product. Behind the KraftsNestlesCoca-Colas and Pizza Huts of the world, are the large corporations that deal with the most important person in the process; the farmer.

The Cargill Exposé
It is fitting to launch this series by exploring the most influential and powerful agri-business in the world; Cargill. As one of the largest private companies in the world,Cargill‘s $75.2 billion in sales employs 149,000 people in 63 countries. But the Minnesota-based company utilizes a strategy that situates much of their presence behind the scenes, and upon addressing the scope of this company’s influence, their operations and products make their sales figures and employment statistics close to meaningless. Cargill sets the stage for agriculture and food around the world, and a better understanding of this company, is a better understanding of our dinners.

Guests for Part I of the 2-part Cargill Exposé

Brewster KneenAuthor/PublisherThe Ram’s Horn(Ottawa, ON) – Brewster was born in Ohio and studied economics and theology in the U.S. and the U.K. before moving to Toronto in 1965. There he produced public affairs programs for CBC Radio, and worked as a consultant to the churches on issues of social and economic justice. In 1971, with his wife Cathleen and their children Jamie and Rebecca, he moved to Nova Scotia, where they farmed until 1986, starting with a cow-calf operation and then developing a large commercial sheep farm. When he stopped farming, he developed a devoted interest to learn more about Cargill than perhaps anyone has ever attempted. The second edition of his book “Invisible Giant” (2002), provides the most current and comprehensive source for any eater interested in learning more about the origins of our food.

John SauvenCampaign DirectorGreenpeace (London, UK) -Greenpeace has been very active in exposing the operations of Cargill in Brazil’s Amazon. Their 2006 report titled “Eating Up The Amazon”, illustrated the soya crisis through an analysis of both Cargill and the European operations of McDonald’s. The report documents the path taken by soya from illegally cleared farms, to Cargill and its customers. With the hope of raising awareness about the company’s activities abroad, Greenpeace has staged a number of protests that have succesfully disrupted Cargill’s operations.

17 May 2006. Santarem, Brazil. Greenpeace activists protest against US commodities giant Cargill, at its illegal soya export facility in the heart of the Amazon rainforest, which supplies fast food company KFC with animal feed in Europe. They held up a banner saying ‘Cargill Out’, as rainforest soya was being prepared for export.

Amazon Burning
10 December 2003. Para State, Brazil. The US based Cargill corporation burns large areas of rainforest to prepare for soya plantations

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