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ConAgra

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WARNING! Sewage sludge is toxic. Food should not be grown in "biosolids." Join the Food Rights Network.

ConAgra (ConAgra Foods) is a major food producer in the U.S., headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska. It retails a large variety of shelf-stable, frozen, and refrigerated foods. It is also a large foodservice supplier, selling wholesale to restaurants.

[1]

ConAgra's long list of brands includes Chef Boyardee, DAVID Seeds, Egg Beaters, Healthy Choice frozen meals, Hebrew National hot dogs, Hunt's ketchup, Kid Cuisine frozen meals, Marie Callender frozen meals, Orville Redenbacher's pop corn, PAM no-stick spray, Reddi-wip, and Slim Jim.

Other brands are ACT II pop corn, Banquet frozen meals, Blue Bonnet, Fleischmann's and Parkay margarines, Jiffy Pop pop corn, La Choy, Libby's, Manwich, Peter Pan peanut butter, Van Camp's, and more. [2]

Involvement with the Toxic Sludge Industry

ConAgra funds such companies as Changing World Technologies, which in turn funds such companies as Enertech Environmental (to the tune of $42 million), a "waste conversion startup that makes biofuel from biosolids."[3] According to another source, "ConAgra Foods has a minority interest in the Changing World company."[4]

Toxic Sludge Gasification Controversy

"Biosolids" is a euphemistic PR term for Toxic sludge. EPA whistleblower Hugh Kaufman has called gasification, or using sludge to generate methanol or energy, the "most environmentally sound approach, but also the most expensive," to sludge disposal. However, anaerobic digestion of sewage sludge, while it reduces the volume of the sludge and heats it to a temperature that kills many pathogens, still leaves behind what the industry calls "digestate" or, more specifically in this case, "biosolids." These "Class A Biosolids" (so-called because the Environmental Protection Agency has stricter limits on pathogens and "vector attraction" for Class A than for Class B Biosolids, i.e. they must not attract disease-carrying insects or rodents, etc.) still contain other sludge contaminants, including Dioxins and Furans, Flame Retardants, Metals, Organochlorine Pesticides, 1,2-Dibromo-3-Chloropropane (DBCP), Naphthalene, Triclosan, Nonylphenols, Phthalates, Nanosilver, and thousands more substances.

The EPA's 2009 Targeted National Sewage Sludge Survey (TNSSS) concluded that all sewage sludge, Class A, Class B or otherwise, contains toxic and hazardous materials, including large numbers of endocrine disruptors. The TNSSS results are described in two EPA reports published in 2009. EPA found that dozens of hazardous materials, not regulated and not required to be tested for, have been documented in each and every one of the sludge samples EPA took around the USA.[5] And yet Class A "Biosolids" may be applied to cropland with no restrictions and sold or given away to gardeners as "organic fertilizers," and hundreds of municipalities and companies do so.

Participant at 2011 BioCycle 11th Annual Conference on "Renewable Energy from Organics Recycling"

ConAgra Foods' Kate Johnson was a participant in the 2011 BioCycle 11th Annual Conference on "Renewable Energy from Organics Recycling." BioCycle Magazine is a publication serving the interests of the sewage sludge industry.[6]

Political contributions

ConAgra gave $113,000 to federal candidates in the 2006 election through its political action committee - 16% to Democrats and 84% to Republicans. [7]

Lobbying

The company spent $140,000 for lobbying in 2006. $120,000 went to two lobbying firms, Cornerstone Government Affairs and International Business-Govt Counsellors, with the remainder being spent using in-house lobbyists. [8]

Personnel

Key executives and 2006 pay: [9]

  • Gary M. Rodkin, Chief Executive Officer, President and Director, $2,740,000
  • Owen C. Johnson, Former Chief Administrative Officer and Executive Vice President, $800,000
  • Robert F. Sharpe Jr., Executive Vice President of Legal & External Affairs, $1,080,000
  • John F. Gehring, Senior Vice President and Corporate Controller, $650,000
  • Andre J. Hawaux, Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President

Selected board members: [10]

Former Board Members

Contact details

One ConAgra Drive
Omaha, NE 68102
Phone: 402-595-4000
Fax: 402-595-4707
Web: http://www.conagra.com

Resources

Other SourceWatch Resources

External articles

References

  1. ConAgra Profile, Hoovers, accessed August 2007.
  2. ConAgra Foods, ConAgra, accessed August 2007.
  3. Jeremy Jacquot, Changing World Technologies, a maker of biodiesel and fertilizers, files for $100M IPO, Deals & More, August 14, 2008
  4. WASTES ARE MUCH IN DEMAND, BioCycle Magazine, November 2005, Vol. 46, No. 11, p. 6
  5. Environmental Protection Agency, TNSSS: EPA-822-R-08-016 and EPA-822-R-08-018, January 2009
  6. BioCycle, Exhibitor Directory, publisher's website, accessed November 3, 2011
  7. 2006 PAC Summary Data, Open Secrets, accessed August 2007.
  8. ConAgra lobbying expenses, Open Secrets.
  9. ConAgra Key Executives, Yahoo Finance, accessed August 2007.
  10. Board of Directors, ConAgra, accessed August 2007.
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