Supermarket pineapple
Food Inc

[2010 vid] Felicity Lawrence's film about pineapples, directed by Tom Pearson

 

[2010] Bitter fruit: The truth about supermarket pineapple   "Pineapples need very large amounts of pesticides, about 20kg of active ingredient per hectare per cycle. The soil is sterilised; biodiversity is eliminated. Fourteen to 16 different types of treatment are typically needed, and many have to be applied several times. They use chemicals that are dangerous for the environment and human health."
.....She first suspected a problem in 1995, when her family's health deteriorated dramatically after they moved to the village. Then growing numbers of locals began reporting unexplained illnesses diarrhoea, rashes, gastric problems, including vomiting blood, pains in bones and headaches, loss of vision. Ramirez's university colleagues tested the water, and the tests were then verified by international labs.
.....Eventually, 10 years later, the government accepted that residues of 22 agrochemicals could be detected in the drinking water, among them bromacil, a herbicide linked with cancer of the thyroid, liver and kidneys.
....."I now have many chronic illnesses, and so do my children," Nunez told us. "It's not fair what's happening to us." She broke down in tears as she explained how their campaign to get back decent water had been greeted by officials. "The government has labelled us communists for this. The reality is many people are sick because of pineapples. We are not communists."
....."Our wages have been slashed. We are in crisis. It's nowhere near enough to cover our living costs. We are even struggling to pay for water,"
.....At peak harvest times, the work is long and arduous, both in the field and in the pack houses that run 24/7. Pablo Lopez Garcia from Nicaragua had worked seven days a week for more than three weeks
.....But everyone who had signed the petition had just been sacked, he told us. In 2007, there was a mass sacking, or "liquidaciones", and rehiring at wage rates reportedly 40% lower than previously. Union members were rehired only if they agreed to give up their affiliation, we were told.
....As a young man, he was one of the many chemical sprayers made sterile by the notorious pesticide DBCP when he worked on Dole banana plantations. (As compensation for being made infertile, he told us he received $7,500 from the company.)
...Workers were too frightened to be identified, but we gathered more evidence here of mass sackings and allegations of union-breaking at Del Monte's Finca San Peter at the end of last year. We were told a few workers tried to join the union to demand higher pay, and after some had been poisoned while spraying pineapples with Furadan one of the most toxic carbamate pesticides, not approved for crop use in the EU. Carbamates are nerve poisons. The company reaction was "like a bomb going off", one worker said. It was alleged that first members were intimidated and threatened. I was shown a notice that was then put up in the plantation office announcing that all field workers, around 300 people, would be sacked in a mass "liquidacion" and rehiring on 7 November. The workers were rehired on slightly poorer conditions than before, with the exception of union members.
...."They were offered free transport to Siquirres town to renounce their union membership. Those who accepted the offer were rehired; those who did not were not." One who refused to leave the union found his house burned down shortly after.
....pineapples imported from Costa Rica, the UK government's pesticide residues committee found 94% of samples contained residues of the fungicide triadimefon, a reproductive toxin and suspected hormone disruptor.