Below are three examples of large and poweful companies connected to the hidden processes behind our everyday food products. Increasingly, a small number of global corporations are dominating each part of the supply-chain, and in some cases, controlling many parts.
You can see two versions of our ‘work in progress’ Who Controls our Food chart which explores the companies who are main players here in Australia and in the global sphere. V 1. V 2 (flash). Please note these have not been updated since 2011.
Grain and commodities — Cargill
Cargill, the world’s largest commodity trading company, is dominant in the grain and seed market, but also produces, processes and distributes animal feed and the pork and beef they feed with it. In Australia, Cargill supplies oilseed, grain, sugar, livestock feed, pharmaceuticals, and is our fourth largest beef processor. Cargill has been criticised as a major buyer of cotton in Uzbekistan and for deforesting Amazon rainforest in order to produce soy.
- Key resources
- Cargill takeover news:
- Nov 2010: Goodman Fielder, Cargill scrap edible oil deal
- Nov 2010: AWB sold to Canada’s Agrium (precurssor to sale to Cargil)
- Dec 2010: Agrium offloads AWB unit to Cargill for $870m
- Sept 2011: Cargill merged its Australian beef business with Teys Bros., the country’s second-largest beef processor (previously owned by the Packer-owned Consolidated Meat Group). The companies have combined their businesses into a 50:50 joint venture, which will trade under the name of Teys Australia – A Cargill Joint Venture.
- Cargil involvements/owns in Australia:
- Beef — second largest player, 12 per cent of the market — processing operations in Wagga Wagga & Tamworth and a feedlot at Stockinbingal, NSW.
- Cotton — using Monsantos GE Bt
- Food ingredients — sweeteners, lecithins, processing aids
- Allied Mills is a joint venture between Cargill and Graincorp, providing bread and speciality flours — third largest player with 15 per cent of the market
- Processes over 600,000 tonnes of canola, cottonseed, sunflower seed and soybeans annually in Australia to produce protein meal for animal feed and vegetable oil for foods such as margarine, salad dressings and frying.
- Vegetable oil refinery in Newcastle, NSW
- Subsidiary Australian Grain Accumulation acts as the buying agent for grain and oilseeds
- Now owns Australian Wheat Board, since Dec 2010 (not including Landmark, kept by Agrium)
See more at Who owns Australia’s Grains?
Beef — JBS-Swift
JBS-Swift, the biggest Brazilian beef packer, recently purchased Australia Meat Holdings (the largest beef processor in Australia) and multi-species processors the Tasman Group and Rockdale Beef. JBS-Swift accounts for 10 per cent of the cattle slaughtered in the world and, like Cargill, has been criticised for clearing forests in South America for animal feed production. More, see wikipedia:JBS.
See more at Who owns Australia’s Beef?
Chemicals and Seeds — Monsanto
The world’s six largest agrochemical manufacturers (BASF, Monsanto, Bayer, Syngenta, DuPont, Dow) are also seed industry giants. They collectively control around half of the proprietary seed market and 75 per cent of the global agrochemical market. The world’s largest seed company, Monsanto, accounts for almost one-quarter (23 per cent) of the global seed market and is responsible for 90 per cent of the world’s genetically modified seed. More, see wikipedia:Monsanto
See more at Who Owns Nature? report 2008 — ETC Group