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Cargill Defends Itself on Environmental Grounds

by 5m Editor
1 December 2010, at 12:17pm

US - Cargill is refuting recent allegations by an environmental watchdog group that its pork processing plant in Beardstown, Illinois, is dumping toxic chemicals into the Illinois River.

Washington, D.C.-based Environment America alleged that Cargill is responsible for dumping more than three million pounds of nitrates in the waterway in 2008, contributing to a growing dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. The advocacy group’s report, released two weeks ago, added that Cargill has increased nitrate pollution from the plant by tenfold in the last 12 years.

But Cargill spokesman Mike Martin pointed out that the plant is in full compliance with current federal regulations and the company voluntarily spent an additional $1 million to upgrade its wastewater treatment system in 2009 so that nitrate emissions would be reduced by another 33 percent.

“It’s in Cargill’s best interests to be a good environmental steward and our size allows us to make these types of capital improvements to mitigate the environmental impact of our operations,“ Mr Martin told Meatingplace. He added that should regulations change Cargill is ready to make the necessary changes at its plants.

Environment America’s report, available here, also cited processing giants Tyson Foods, Perdue, Pilgrim’s Pride, Smithfield Foods and JBS USA as contributing to the nation’s environmental problems, particularly in terms of water pollution issues.