Sunday, March 23, 2008

Cargill Meat (final) Solutions: They're having a blast!

AP reports:

"BOONEVILLE, Ark. - An explosion at a meat packing plant on Sunday caused an ammonia gas leak that forced 180 people from their homes, but none of those working at the plant was injured, emergency responders said. The explosion in the western Arkansas town of 4,000 occurred in the freezer section of the Cargill Meat Solutions plant, which makes frozen ground beef patties and steaks, said Renee Preslar, a spokeswoman with the state Department of Emergency Management. . . Nine nursing home residents were among those told to leave the area. They were taken to a nursing home in nearby Greenwood. It was unclear when residents might be allowed to return to their homes."

My, my, Cargill sure does have its host of problems doesn't it?

Hoover's describes Cargill Meat Solutions for prospective investors:

"Cargill Meat Solutions Corporation is really very good at being a leading meat processor in the US. It excels at turning cows, pigs and turkeys into meat at its plants in the US and Canada, which it sells countries around the world."

And it's good at poisoning people, too, apparently.

Just last October it was forced to "voluntarily" recall 845,000 pounds of frozen ground beef patties. That was a month before they recalled a million pounds of their product on Nov. 3 and just last year it was forced to close a soy plant down in Santarem, in Para state Brazil after "the US-based multinational agribusiness firm failed to provide an environmental impact statement required by law," according to Land Research Action Network.

In 2005, the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal reported that Cargill: "agreed to a multimillion-dollar settlement of alleged Clean Air Act violations regarding emissions at its U.S. corn and soybean processing facilities . . . Under the settlement with the U.S. Justice Department and Environmental Protection Agency, Minnetonka-based Cargill will pay a $1.6 million cash penalty, as well as $3.5 million to fund community-based environmental projects and environmental improvements at Cargill plants."

The Farm Factory Offender datebase lists various violations, too many to list here, from polution, to labor standards, to humane slaughter violations to other product recalls.

At sampling:

Environmental violations:

*"In September 2005, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Justice lodged a multi-state consent decree in federal court that settled Clean Air Act violations at 27 Cargill corn and oilseed processing plants. Cargill agreed to pay a civil penalty of $1.6 million and to perform federal and community environmental projects valued at $3.5 million.

Labor violations:

*"Excel plants (Dodge City, Kansas; Ft Morgan, Colorado, Friona, Texas; Marshall, Missouri; Ottumwa, Iowa; Plainview, Texas; Schuyler, Nebraska) assessed a total of 67 initial violations and $134,134 in initial fines.

*Emmpak plants (Booneville, Arkansas; Butler, Wisconsin; Milwaukee, Wisconsin assessed a total of 28 initial violations and $43,950 in initial fines."

[Note: Cargill is keen on following immigration law by hiring Puerto Ricans. NPR reports: "Cargill spokesman Mark Klein says the company has long had to recruit outside its plants' locations and targets places with high unemployment. Puerto Ricans make good candidates because they are U.S. citizens and many have experience in the industry. 'What interested us about Puerto Rico was there was a pork plant in Corozal that had closed a while back, and we wanted to hire people that had meat experience." See the fun they have in store for them at Human Rights Watch]

Food safety violations:

*"FSIS withheld the marks of inspection concerning labels for Advanced Meat Recovery (AMR) System on December 13, 2004. Plant received a Notice of Intended Enforcement for Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point System (HACCP) violations on August 19, 2003 (plant produced product testing positive for E coli 0157:H7).

Humane Slaughter violations:

*Beardstown, IL - Plant received a Suspension of Inspection for humane handling and slaughter violations from August 26 through August 28, 2003. Plant operations were shut down after hot weather killed about 1,100 pigs waiting to be unloaded from trucks. The pigs had been left on trucks due to the closing of several chutes for repairs. Plant received another Suspension of Inspection for humane handling and slaughter violations from December 4 to December 5, 2003."

Product recalls:

*Plant (dba Emmpak Foods)recalled 123,000 pounds of ground beef due to potential contamination with hydraulic fluid on February 15, 2005.

*Marshall, MO - Plant recalled 54,000 pounds of packaged pork product due to an undeclared allergen on June 2, 2004.

*Dodge City, KS - Plant recalled 26,600 pounds of fresh ground beef product due to misbranding on November 26, 2003; plant recalled 45,000 pounds of fresh ground beef due to potential contamination with E coli 0157:H7 on April 29, 2004.

*Nebraska City, NE - Plant (dba Emmpak Foods) recalled 362,890 pounds of ready-to-eat beef product due to incorrect labeling on August 21, 2003."

All in all, a real good corporate citizen.

According to SOURCEWATCH, when Cargill isn't poisoning the populous, they're feathering politician's nests.

Warren R. Stanely, Chairman of Cargill, is a Bush Ranger having raised at least $200,000 for Buch in the 2004 presidential elections. Cargill gave $223,000 to federal candidates in the 2006 election through its political action committee - 21% to Democrats and 78% to Republicans. reports that Cargill has given:

Senator Norm Coleman (R-MN) $3,000 Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR)
$1,000, so far in the 2008 pay cycle. (I'm sure Senator Pryor will be getting to the bottom of this plant explosion as if his life depended on it!)

In the House, beneficiaries of Cargill's largess are:

Boswell, Leonard L (D-IA) $1,000; DeLauro, Rosa L (D-CT) $1,000; Moran, Jerry (R-KS) $1,000; Oberstar, James L (D-MN); $1,000; and Peterson, Collin C (D-MN) $2,000.

MMM. Yummy! Meat, it's what for (your final) dinner!


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