By JONATHAN WOLFMAN
And here, you thought that a bad tomato or E. coli in your spinach was the worst that you might have in mind when you’re next skipping down the produce aisle.
You may now think of slave labor, too.
Ok. If it’ll help you chomp more easily that State of Washington Granny Smith or suck that Hawaiian pineapple spear with more gusto, let’s say ”near-slavery.”
The Associated Press reports that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is suing farms in those states who used workers supplied by farm labor contractor Global Horizons, Inc. for engaging in what it calls the “largest human trafficking case in the nation’s agricultural industry.” Apparently, GHI imported more than 200 Thais to work their farms, confiscated passports, leaving workers stateless and without recourse, threatening to deport them as criminals were they to complain about conditions. And you may safely bet that none of these people ever heard of Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers Union.
If you’re the kind to look at labels, here are the companies who the lawsuits charge participated in the human trafficking and intimidation:
. Captain Cook Coffee
. Del Monte
. Kauai Coffee Company
. Kelena Farms
. MacFarms of Hawaii
. Maui Pineapple
. Valley Fruit Orchards
. Green Acres Farms (I’m not kidding.)
I realise that looking a lot at labels can spoil the usual fun ‘n frolic of the supermarket and can even put a crimp into co-opping. I urge you, nonetheless, to look.