A US multinational manufacturer of major food brands. One of the factories making its Pillsbury products is located in an illegal settlement in the occupied West Bank.
General Mills is a multinational food conglomerate headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The company has about 35,000 employees and annual revenue of $17.6 billion as of 2020. General Mills has been described as one of ten companies that “control almost every large food and beverage brand in the world.” The company is known best for its cereal brands Cheerios, Cocoa Puffs, Lucky Charms, and Trix, but it owns more than 100 other brands, including Annie's Homegrown, Betty Crocker, Cascadian Farm, Gold Medal Flour, Häagen-Dazs, Nature Valley, and Yoplait. General Mills bought the Pillsbury Company in 2001 and has owned the Pillsbury brand ever since.
General Mills manufactures frozen baked goods for its Pillsbury brand in the Atarot Industrial Zone, an illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied Palestinian territory. The factory is owned by Israeli company Shalgal (Food) Ltd and is used exclusively to make Pillsbury products as the Israeli licensee of Pillsbury. General Mills acknowledged that it “holds a factory” at Atarot and its employees are regularly stationed there to monitor product quality. In 2020, the United Nations included General Mills in its database of companies doing business in illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory.
The factory started manufacturing Pillsbury products for General Mills in 2002, and was expanded that year using $2 million of Israeli government money. Shalgal has received additional grants from the Israeli government at least twice, in 2010 and 2019, to increase the number of workers at the factory. The Israeli government allows Shalgal to employ 128 Palestinian workers from the West Bank, making it the 3rd largest employer of West Bank Palestinians at Atarot as of 2019. The factory employs a similar number of Israeli Jews, mostly from the ultra-orthodox community.
The Atarot Industrial Zone is located north of Jerusalem and is part of the area of the West Bank known as “East Jerusalem,” which Israel illegally annexed in the aftermath of the 1967 war. The Pillsbury factory was built on land that belongs to Beit Hanina, a Palestinian town that Israel made into a neighborhood of Jerusalem and later split into two by the separation wall. Israel confiscated this land in 1970, as part of the largest confiscation of Palestinian land in the Jerusalem environs.