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Special report Who is picking our food?
2nd March, 2012
In a major investigation the Ecologist reports on the hidden stories behind those harvesting the fruit and vegetables - and other staples - we eat everyday, both in the UK and internationally
Over the past year the Ecologist has been investigating conditions for some of the thousands of workers picking some of our most popular foods.
Our reporting has taken us from Kent, Sussex and East Anglia in the UK, to Italy, the US and Africa, and the Caribbean, amongst other locations, examining those at the bottom of supply chains that bring us salad, tomatoes, oranges, bananas, nuts, tea and other staples.
Our unique and groundbreaking investigations have uncovered vast exploitation - including the sexual abuse of woman - shocking health impacts for workers exposed to dangerous chemicals, and the disturbing use of child labour, amongst a range of other abuses.
We've also looked at what can be done to improve the sustainability of supply chains, met the teenagers fighting back against the might of US agribusiness, and toured the UK salad 'mega-farm' that's pioneering a new approach to employing migrant workers, asking whether this the future for industrial horticulture.
This is an ongoing project and further special reports, news and analysis will be published during 2012.
READ THE ORIGINAL REPORTS:
- Andrew Wasley reports on new claims that migrant workers in the UK horticulture sector face exploitation and abuse
- Andrew Wasley & Gianluca Martelliano report 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
- Rosie Spinks investigates how US teenagers took on the industrial strawberry sector over its use of a dangerous pesticide
- The Ecologist assesses who is to blame for the 'slavery' and poor conditions in our food supply chains
- 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
- Andrew Wasley gets an exclusive tour of Britain's salad 'mega-farm' to see how its thousands of migrant workers live
- Read the original 'Who's picking our food?' investigation as a PDF
- Andrew Wasley & Gianluca Martelliano uncover squalid conditions and low pay in Calabria's orange groves. This investigation - which revealed how Coca Cola purchases concentrates from the region for its Fanta drink - provoked a public outcry across Italy and led to a number of pledges to examine the problem
- Tom Levitt reports on whether organic, Fairtrade bananas are really fair to the migrant workers harvesting them?
- Gianluca Martelliano reports on developments following our orange harvest investigation, including pledges from Coca Cola and the Italian Government to address the problem.
- Andrew Wasley asks whether Coca Cola should be allowed to sponsor the London Olympic games in light of the controversy surrounding italy's orange harvest
- Frederik Johannisson and Peter Bengtsen of Danwatch report on the deadly cost of our love affair with pepper
- Verity Largo and Andrew Wasley investigate claims that some female plantation workers at the Kericho tea reserve in Kenya are subjected to 'sexual harassment' and 'poor conditions'
- Peter Caton and Beatriz Lopez uncover the shocking legacy of pesticide spraying in India's cashew sector
- Murray Worthy asks whether the proposed Groceries Code Adjudicator will have the teeth to curb the power of supermarkets
News investigation Scandal of the 'tomato slaves' harvesting crop exported to UK
Across Italy an invisible army of migrant workers harvests tomatoes destined for our dinner plates. Paid poverty wages and living in squalor, medical charities have described conditions as 'hell'. Andrew Wasley reports from Basilicata, southern Italy
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. Barry Estabrook reports on the case that shocked the US
PG Tips and Lipton tea hit by 'sexual harassment and poor conditions' claims
Unilever denies some female employees at its Rainforest Alliance-certified tea plantation in Kenya are subjected to sexual harassment. But Dutch research outfit SOMO paints a very different picture. Verity Largo and Andrew Wasley report
Police raid on illegal shellfish gang reveals 'national problem'
Our national taste for shellfish is leading to exploitation of our shores by criminal gangs, putting human health and fragile environments at risk
|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
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