Food Market brings news, talk and insight into the food business, from farms to supermarkets to restaurants. Reporters Mike Hughlett and Tom Meersman delve into the work of Minnesota’s food companies and issues such as food safety and labeling.

Apparent missile strike on idled Cargill plant in Ukraine

Posted by: Mike Hughlett Updated: August 20, 2014 - 4:05 PM

A Cargill agricultural facility in eastern Ukraine -- already a victim of that country’s civil strife -- may have been struck by a missile this week.

“We have received reports that there was a fire at one of the grain silos at our facility in Donetsk which was attended by the local fire brigade,” Cargill said in a statement. “Unconfirmed reports suggest this may have been the result of a missile hit.”

No injuries and no damage to the rest of the facility have been reported, Cargill said, though the company hasn’t been able to make a further assessment of the plant.

Cargill closed its sunflower processing plant in Donetsk on July 4 as tensions increased between Ukrainian armed forces and pro-Russian separatists. About a week later, the shuttered plant was occupied by armed intruders.

Cargill described the occupiers as “a small number of armed individuals whose intentions are not clear to us.”

The Cargill plant has been operating in Ukraine for 20 years, and “plays an important role in the local and regional economy,” the company said.

The strife in eastern Ukraine is taking an increasing toll on the country’s economy. Reuters, quoting a Ukrainian government spokesman, reported this week that Ukraine will lose 15 percent of its grain crop in two violence-hit regions in the country's east.

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