Forget Jason Bourne. Please forget Good Will Hunting. Forget even his haunting duet with Sarah Silverman. Matt Damon’s finest hour will be as the rotund and self-aggrandizing agribusiness executive, Mark Whitacre, hero of The Informant!. The story is one I covered in Stuffed and Starved, a tale of greed, fraud and corruption within Archer Daniels Midland, one of the world’s largest food conglomerates. The story doesn’t end with Whitacre’s incarceration though. The folk at CorpWatch have a website with the bigger picture, and recent updates on ADM’s continued shady dealings.
Oo, and don’t think that ADM is a black sheep in the food industry – they’re the norm, though sometimes it’s hard to see why. The Financial Times has run a series of flaccid press-release-based stories about Cargill recently. Normally thoughtful journalists like Javier Blas ignore much that’s wrong with the company, including for instance, the company’s admission of responsibility for, and recently settlement regarding, its selling toxic meat through Cargill Meat Solutions (Meat Solutions!) to a dance instructor who has been left with kidney and cognitive damage. But there are places to find out more about all these companies: the Agribusiness Accountability Initiative is a bank of antidotes to the PR campaigns currently bankrolled by the agro-food industry. Innoculate yourself today.