Food safety



RSC Cargill Food Safety Mosaic

In a global food system where food comes from many sources and can travel great distances, food safety becomes even more important and complicated.

Because we touch the global food supply in so many ways and in so many places, we apply a broad, comprehensive, science- and risk-based approach to ensure the safety and integrity of our products no matter where we are in the world.

Our goal is to provide high-quality, safe food every time, everywhere. And, although our definition of food safety is simple – protecting people and animals from illness or injury from handling or consuming our food or feed products, we know this is a complex challenge.

To address this challenge, we have adopted one global system across all of our businesses in every country, an approach that meets or exceeds the regulations in every country where we operate. The foundation of our food safety system is focused on prevention and designed to address biological, chemical and physical hazards.

The work we do in this important area is never finished. Every day we strive to earn the trust of our customers and consumers, beginning with the safety of the food and feed we produce and extending to improving food safety around the world.

Learn more about how we work every day to achieve our goal of providing you with high-quality, safe food every time, everywhere.


We strive to be a reliable source of expertise for our customers; keep the trust of regulators; earn the confidence of consumers; and be a catalyst to improve food safety in the industries in which we operate.

We actively engage with the scientific community, our key customers and other stakeholders in the development of sound public policy. In the United States, for example, Cargill has been a strong supporter of the Food Safety Modernization Act, which represents a significant step forward in reforming U.S. food safety laws and focusing government and industry attention on the prevention of food safety problems. In the Netherlands, we worked with the country’s food safety authority to develop a pilot program that enabled regulators to leverage information collected through accredited third-party audits, allowing them to redirect resources to higher risk areas of the food supply chain.

RSC Cargill Food Safety Infographic on Hunger & Communities
Cargill's partnership with Feeding America has focused on funding and technical support for food safety initiatives.

We also promote public-private partnerships that focus on the global harmonization of food and feed safety standards, the improvement of food safety practices, and public education. Examples of those partnerships are:

  • GFSI. We are leading the food industry in supporting the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), a nonprofit foundation that benchmarks existing food safety standards against food safety criteria. GFSI’s mission is continuous improvement in food safety management systems to deliver safe food to consumers.
  • China. Cargill has partnered with China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) and others to bring Chinese officials to food production sites across the U.S. and Europe, including Cargill facilities, to exchange best practices around food safety.
  • SSAFE. We engage with private industry, government, academia, consumers, inter-governmental organizations and nongovernmental groups. Cargill is a founding member of SSAFE, Inc., a nonprofit organization that is officially recognized by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations and World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). SSAFE works to foster public-private partnerships that support the adoption of international science-based food safety, animal health and plant protection standards.
  • Feeding America. With funding and support from Cargill, Feeding America has dedicated a staff person to strengthen its food-safety training and evaluation efforts throughout its national food bank network. Feeding America is a network of food banks that serve tens of millions of people across every U.S. state and some provinces in Canada.


Global approach

We have a deep understanding of and appreciation for the role that everyone from farmers to families play in keeping food safe. We have a single systems approach to food safety management for all of our businesses, across all countries. To achieve this approach:

  • We apply the standards and principles of Codex Alimentarius, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) principles, and the International Plant Protection Commission (IPPC) principles for plant health issues. These systems are based on prevention, intervention and response to enhance public health.
  • We implement these standards and principles through programs, such as good hygiene protocols, and the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) systems.
  • Our food safety practices are continuously updated based on what we learn through our own efforts, our industries, customers, the scientific community, and others in the food supply chain. Cargill's food-processing facilities have achieved GFSI-benchmarked certification, and certification is being implemented based on risk at Cargill grain handling and animal feed facilities.


We hold ourselves accountable to fully implement our global food safety approach and continuously seek ways to improve the food safety system. We maintain a dedicated Corporate Food Safety, Quality & Regulatory Affairs (CFSQRA) group, which provides global leadership in food safety, regulatory affairs, animal health and quality assurance for Cargill businesses. Food safety teams in our business units are accountable for implementing Cargill’s food safety and quality policies, procedures, and continuous improvement in these areas. Cargill facilities are regularly audited by internal and third-party experts.

We also hold our vendors, suppliers and external manufacturers accountable for fully implementing our requirements for them. Cargill has implemented a comprehensive Supplier and External Manufacturer (SEM) process to qualify and manage vendors, suppliers and external manufacturers using one global process that incorporates food safety and quality practices to reduce food safety risk, and keep people and animals safe. We will not do business with companies that do not meet our vendor, supplier and external manufacturer requirements.

RSC Cargill Food Safety Photo

Personal responsibility

At Cargill, we believe all employees are responsible for contributing to the success of our food safety system. We empower them to bring forward ideas that can improve our efforts and take action when they see a problem in our operations that could compromise food safety.

We strive to ensure that every Cargill employee is provided the training necessary to understand our food safety policies and practices, and his or her role in food safety. Cargill leaders have additional responsibilities:

  • Cargill corporate and operational managers are required to respond to employees’ food safety concerns in a timely manner and to listen to ideas for improving our system.
  • Leaders at all levels are responsible for helping create a culture of food safety across Cargill.
  • Our senior leadership team provides operational managers with the resources required to maintain a robust food safety system and to comply fully with food safety standards and expectations set by the company, regulators and customers.


We are committed to transparency and sharing information on food safety issues across our businesses and with regulators, customers, vendors, suppliers and external manufacturers, and consumers. We have formal and informal processes in place for sharing our food safety innovations, learnings and best practices with all of our internal and external stakeholders in agriculture and food, as well as to learn from others.

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