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    Repiglican Roast

    A spirited discussion of public policy and current issues

    Name:
    Location: The mouth of being

    I'm furious about my squandered nation.

    Monday, October 15, 2007

    ConAgra.

    Environmental record

    ConAgra has been criticized for its lack of response to global warming. A 2006 report by CERES, a non-profit organization that works to address global climate change and other sustainability issues, titled "Corporate Governance and Climate Change: Making the Connection," measures how 100 leading global companies are responding to global warming. Companies in the report were evaluated on a 0 to 100 scale. ConAgra scored a total of 4 points, the lowest of any of the food companies rated.[2]

    In 2003-2004, ConAgra participated in a Minnesota Pollution Control Agency voluntary investigation and clean-up program. Through the program, the company cleaned up a property previously used for lithium ore processing and constructed a new 80,000 square foot (7,000 m²) office/warehouse building. [3]

    Labor record

    In May 2003, ConAgra and its subsidiary Gilroy Foods agreed to pay $1.5 million to settle charges of hiring discrimination brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The charges involved a July 1999 Teamsters strike at a plant in King City, then owned by Basic Vegetable Products LP but later purchased by ConAgra. In August 2001, the company successfully negotiated with the union to end the two-year strike with a new contract that would recall workers based on seniority. However, the recall process excluded workers who were on leave at the time of the purchase including those out due to work injury or pregnancy. Others were denied jobs due to a history of previous injury or illness, despite their having no restrictions on returning to work. According to the EEOC, most of the 39 workers who were excluded from the recall process had been working at the plant for 10 to 20 years and were primarily Hispanic and female. [4]

    The company's Greeley Colorado plant had been cited almost 10 times from 1999 to 2002 for violating worker safety[5].

    Health record

    In 2001, the U.S. Department of Agriculture halted operations at two ConAgra plants because of health violations. The company was threatened with shutdowns at least a half dozen more times. [citation needed] The ConAgra facility in Longmont, Colorado, had the highest rate of salmonella among all the turkey processors tested by the Department during 2001. Nearly half of the turkeys processed at ConAgra’s Longmont, Colorado, facility were contaminated with harmful Salmonella bacteria, compared with a rate of 13 percent for the industry at large.[6]

    In 2002, ConAgra, together with other major food and beverage companies including PepsiCo, General Mills, Kellogg, Sara Lee, and H.J. Heinz Co., spent heavily to defeat Oregon's measure 27, which would have required food companies to label products that contain genetically modified ingredients.[7] According to the Oregon Secretary of State, ConAgra contributed $71,000 to the campaign to defeat the ballot initiative.[8]

    Ethical record

    In 1997 ConAgra pled guilty to federal criminal charges that its Peavey Grain unit illegally sprayed water on stored grain to increase its weight and value and also bribed Federal inspectors. The company agreed to pay $8.3 million to resolve the charges, which included a $4.4 million criminal fine, $3.45 million as compensation for illegal profits and $450,000 to reimburse the U.S. Department of Agriculture for storage and investigation expenses. ConAgra had also paid $2 million to settle a related civil case filed by a group of Indiana farmers. [9] Multinational Monitor, a corporate watchdog organization, named ConAgra one of the 'Top 100 Corporate Criminals of the 1990s'.[10]

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