Mexico: Hardship on Mexico's farms, a bounty for U.S. tables

Author: Richard Marosi, Los Angeles Times (USA), Published on: 7 December 2014

Mexico Hardship on Mexico's farms, a bounty for U.S. tables 08 Dec 14

A Times reporter and photographer find that thousands of laborers at Mexico's mega-farms endure harsh conditions and exploitation while supplying produce for American consumers...

  • Many farm laborers are essentially trapped for months at a time in rat-infested camps, often without beds and sometimes without functioning toilets or a reliable water supply.
  • Some camp bosses illegally withhold wages to prevent workers from leaving during peak harvest periods.
  • Laborers often go deep in debt paying inflated prices for necessities at company stores. Some are reduced to scavenging for food when their credit is cut off. It's common for laborers to head home penniless at the end of a harvest.
  • Those who seek to escape their debts and miserable living conditions have to contend with guards, barbed-wire fences and sometimes threats of violence from camp supervisors.
  • Major U.S. companies have done little to enforce social responsibility guidelines that call for basic worker protections such as clean housing and fair pay practices...

[Includes comments by Whole Foods, Rene Produce, Triple H, Subway, Safeway, Wal-Mart, Agricola San Emilio, Andrew & Williamson, Bioparques de Occidente, SunFed, Agricola Santa Teresa, Agricola El Porvenir, Ciruli Bros.  Also refers to Olive Garden (part of Darden Restaurants), Agricola Rita Rosario, Albertsons, Nueva Yamal.]

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Related companies: Albertsons Darden Restaurants Safeway USA (part of Albertsons) Subway Walmart Whole Foods Market