Wednesday, February 08, 2006

No Del Monte Labels in My Cupboard

I don't buy Del Monte Products. It's not that I don't care for their fresh, frozen and canned goods, it's a question of ethics. My family lived in Hawaii in the early sixties. Growing up, my mother told me that she avoided Del Monte products because they had a written policy to promote racial strife. It was part of a campaign to break labor negotiations after the war. She said their policy of bringing Phillipino labor to Hawaii to live in their substandard plantation housing (at exhorbitant rent) was bad for Hawaii and bad for the American economy.

A few years ago, the Italians started a world wide boycott of Del Monte Fresh because of human rights violations in banana republics, especially Ecaudor. Specifiallly they cited child slave labor, worker exposure to toxic chemicals (which by the way end up in the mouths of the American consumer), and the firing of employees who tried to unionize. The srike ended when a government investigation was launched and Del Monte management acknowleged abuses and promised to clean up their act.

Last week Del Monte announced that they are pulling out of Hawaii and "outsourcing" their pineapple operations. Another blow to the U.S. economy.

I'm not an activist. I don't have the time or the inclination to battle "The Man". I'm just a housewife who does the family shopping and like my mother said, Why do business with someone you don't like if you don't have to?