Breaking News on Food Safety & Quality Control

Big Food rallies against climate change legislation

By staff reporter, 17-Aug-2009

Related topics: Legislation

Multinational food and agritech giants are banding together in a bid to throw light on areas of climate change legislation they warn could severely hike food prices.

The consortium that includes Cargill, General Mills, Tyson Foods and the Grocery Manufacturers Association, is preparing to release studies it says will demonstrate the potentially drastic effect global warming could have on the cost of food items.

The companies and associations in the two-month old coalition are worried that under new climate change rules, it is bigger companies that will be bear the brunt of the costs, because of reverse economies-of-scale that could send prices sky-rocketing.

The Climate Change House of Representatives Bill, passed in July, details how companies can earn carbon credits via carbon off-setting projects but the group believes it doesn't provide enough incentives for companies to engage in such projects.

In a letter to two Congressmen, the group said the Bill would, “increase food and feed prices and reduce the international competitiveness of our businesses."

It went on to state: "[parties] must take extreme care to avoid adverse impacts on food security, prices, safety, and accessibility to necessary consumer products."

The coalition feels food and ingredients companies have not effectively lobbied their corner and been outmuscled by the farming lobby, and is hoping to exert influence over another climate change bill due to be introduced in the Senate when it returns from its summer recess.

Meat

Industries such as meat stand out, where cattle methane emissions and the high carbon cost of meat and livestock transport, storage and slaughter mean it may find it more difficult to achieve targets than others, therefore paying more to purchase carbon credits from other greener industries.

With this in mind, the livestock industry would like to trap methane from manure bogs to earn offsets that can be sold to other companies or kept in-house to reduce emission levels.