After a nine month investigation, Bloomberg published a piece about the conditions for workers who harvest palm for palm oil-which is used in many commercial foods we eat. They charge that one major Malaysian supplier of palm oil (KLK) has allegedly subcontracted its harvesting to a company that has defrauded and abused workers and sometimes used child labor. Some of the workers also complain of squalid housing, lack of food and water and being forced to spray the pesticide paraquat (banned in 32 countries) without proper protective equipment. KLK contests these stories. And Kraft told Bloomberg that it has “supplier codes of conduct that prohibit such behavior.”
On the domestic front a coalition of groups went to DC last month call on Congress to strengthen and finalize a federal safeguard called the Worker Protection Standard and in turn, implement stronger protections for farmworkers from hazardous pesticides. A coalition also filed a legal challenge to the EPA to force it to take action on pesticide drift from crops to areas with children including homes, daycare centers and homes.