Where do your tomatoes come from?
1st September, 2011
In the first part of a special report looking at the hidden side of the horticulture sector the Ecologist focuses on one of our favourite foods - tomatoes - reporting from both Italy and the US.
We also look at worrying pesticide levels in the salad sector, report on the film exposing child labour on American farms, and assess how supermarkets can lead the fight against abuses in the food chain.
- Andrew Wasley reports from southern Italy on the plight of Europe's 'tomato slaves', uncovering how exploitation and squalor blight the lives of migrant workers harvesting tomatoes that end up on dinner plates across Europe - including the UK.
- Barry Estabrook investigates the shocking cost of the industrial tomato sector's love affair with toxic chemicals - revealing how in the US serious birth defects have been linked to pesticide exposure suffered by female tomato pickers.
- Nick Mole reveals how more than a hundred pesticides are cleared for spraying on some salad items, with worrying consequences for consumers and farmworkers.
- Julia Hawkins looks at how supermarkets, governments, NGOs and unions can work together to stamp out abuses in the global supply chain.
- Rosie Spinks reports on a powerful new documentary uncovering the scourge of child labour in US agriculture.
Chemical warfare: the horrific birth defects linked to tomato pesticides
The 'Immokalee babies' were born with severe deformities after their mothers were each exposed to pesticides whilst harvesting tomatoes. But they are not the only victims of the industrial tomato sector's love of chemicals. By Barry Estabrook
Consumers and farm workers at risk from toxic pesticides sprayed on salad
More than a 100 pesticides are licenced for spraying on the humble lettuce. As well as posing a threat to consumers, workers harvesting the crop can face contamination and poisoning. By Nick Mole
Why ethical food trade is only possible with supermarket action
International supply chains leave the horticultural workers harvesting our food in poor countries highly vulnerable to exploitation. Retailers, unions, NGOs and governments must work together to tackle this, says Julia Hawkins
|HOW TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE
The Harvest: new film reveals scourge of child labour in US farming
Despite campaigning to reduce child labour internationally, the US is home to at least 230,000 child labourers toiling in the fields to pick blueberries, tomatoes or cotton, according to a powerful new documentary by U Roberto Romano
The film that stood up to banana giant Dole over pesticide poisoning (and won)
The documentary Bananas! highlighted plight of Nicaraguan banana plantation workers who brought a legal case in the US against the use of a banned pesticide DBCP by the Dole Food Company. Tom Levitt reports
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