Cargill, one of the world's biggest commodity producers and traders, has signalled it intends to become a leading voice in the debate about food security.

The company had previously been reluctant to speak out on these issues, but that had changed as a result of increasingly volatile food prices, Cargill vice chairman Paul Conway said at the company's 'The food on your plate what's at stake' seminar last week.

"As a company, Cargill is in the spotlight as it's never been before and frankly, that makes us very uncomfortable," Conway said. However, if Cargill did not publicly address the subject of food security, the food industry would become the target of negative media stories, he added.

Cargill is involved in the production of a wide range of commodities and ingredients, and also has a substantial poultry business. In the year to 31 May 2011, it generated $119.5bn in sales and other revenues.