How to avoid buying shrimp tainted by labour abuses

SAMUT SAKHON, Thailand -- An Associated Press investigation found enslaved migrant workers and children ripping the heads, tails, shells and guts off shrimp at processing factories in Thailand.

See Full Article

AP journalists followed and filmed trucks loaded with freshly peeled shrimp going from one peeling shed to major Thai exporting companies. Then, using U.S. customs records and Thai industry reports, they tracked it globally. They also traced similar connections from another factory raided six months earlier, and interviewed more than two dozen workers from both sites.

U.S. customs records show the farmed shrimp made its way into the supply chains of major U.S. food stores and retailers such as Wal-Mart, Kroger, Whole Foods, Target, Dollar General and Petco, along with restaurants such as Red Lobster and Olive Garden. AP reporters in all 50 states went shopping and found related brands in more than 150 stores across America.

The businesses that responded condemned the practices that lead to labour abuse, and many said they were launching investigations.

Q: How do I know if my shrimp or other seafood is tainted by labour abuses?

A: That's a big part of the problem. Most companies do not make their supply chains public. And even if they did, there are many places for abuses to occur that are not documented or take place far from any type of scrutiny. For example, slaves have been forced to work on boats catching trash fish used for feed at shrimp farms, and migrants have been brought across borders illegally and taken straight to shrimp sheds where they are locked inside and forced to peel. Fishing boats are going farther and farther from shore, sometimes not docking for months or years at a time, creating floating prisons.

Q: What shrimp brands and companies did the AP find linked to tainted supply chains in its investigation?

A: Cape Gourmet; Certifresh; Chef's Net; Chicken of the Sea; Chico; CoCo; Darden (owner of Olive Garden Italian Kitchen, Longhorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze Island Grille, Seasons 52 Fresh Grill, The Capital Grille, Eddie V's Prime Seafood and Yard House); Delicasea; Fancy Feast cat food; Farm Best; Fisherman's Wharf; Winn-Dixie; Fishmarket; Great American; Great Atlantic; Great Catch; Harbor Banks; KPF; Market Basket; Master Catch; Neptune; Portico; Publix; Red Lobster; Royal Tiger; Royal White; Sea Best; Sea Queen; Stater Bros.; Supreme Choice; Tastee Choice; Wal-Mart; Waterfront Bistro; Wellness canned cat food; Whole Catch; Wholey; Xcellent.

Q: AP reporters visited supermarkets chosen at random in all 50 states. Where did they find shrimp linked to tainted supply chains in its investigation?

A: Acme Markets; Albertsons; Aldi; Bi-Lo; Carrs-Safeway; Cash Wise; Crest Foods; Cub Foods; D'Agostino Supermarket; Dan's Supermarket; Dollar General; Edwards Food Giant; Family Dollar; Foodland; Fred Meyer; Giant Eagle; Harris-Teeter; H-E-B; Hy-Vee; Jerry's Foods; Jewel-Osco; Jons International Marketplace; Kroger; Lowes Foods; Mariano's; Market Basket; Marsh Supermarkets; Martin's Super Markets; McDade's Market; Pavilions; Petco; Piggly Wiggly; Price Chopper; Publix; Ralphs; Randall's Food Market; Redner's Warehouse Markets; Russ's Market; Safeway; Save Mart; Schnucks; Shaws; ShopRite; Smart & Final; Sprouts Farmers Market; Stater Bros.; Stop & Shop; Sunshine Foods; Target; Van's Thriftway; Vons; Wal-Mart; Whole Foods; Winn-Dixie.

Q: Thailand has been in the news a lot lately with problems linked to human trafficking in its seafood industry. Why is this still an issue?

A: Thailand is one of the world's biggest seafood exporters, and relies heavily on migrant workers from poor neighbouring countries such as Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos. These labourers often are misled by brokers in their home countries and illegally brought to Thailand with promises of good-paying jobs. They are then sold onto fishing boats or put into seafood processing plants where they become trapped and forced to work long hours for little or no money. Thailand has repeatedly vowed to crack down on the abuses. It has created new laws and is helping to register undocumented workers, but arrests and prosecutions are still rare.

Q: What are buyers and governments doing to try to stop slave-tainted seafood from reaching their countries?

A: The U.S. State Department has blacklisted Thailand for the past two years for its dismal human rights record, placing it among the world's worst offenders such as North Korea and Syria. However, it has not issued sanctions. The European Union put out a "yellow card" warning earlier this year that tripled seafood import tariffs, and is expected to decide next month whether to impose an outright ban on products. Companies such as Nestle have vowed to force change after conducting their own audits and finding that their Thai suppliers were abusing and enslaving workers. Others are working with rights groups to monitor their supply chains and ensure labourers are treated fairly and humanely.



Advertisements

Latest Economic News

  • Wal-Mart to add about 10,000 jobs in the U.S.

    Economic Toronto Sun
    NEW YORK — Wal-Mart plans to add about 10,000 retail jobs in the U.S. as it opens new stores and expands existing locations. The world’s biggest retailer said Tuesday that there will also be about 24,000 construction jobs as well. Source
  • McDonald's Canada warns all menu products may come in contact with nuts

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO -- McDonald's Canada has started serving its first product containing peanuts or tree nuts that do not come in an individual package, causing concerns for customers with severe nut allergies. McDonald's says in a statement on its website that its new Skor McFlurry contains choppped almonds in the pieces of chocolate bar used to make the treat. Source
  • Air Canada software outage halts check-ins

    Economic CBC News
    Air Canada is experiencing software problems that have halted all computerized checking-in at airports across the country. The outage Tuesday emerged at around 11 a.m. ET and made it impossible to check in or board planes via the airline's check-in system at any airports in Canada. Source
  • Air Canada software outage briefly halts computerized check-ins

    Economic CBC News
    Air Canada is experiencing software problems that have halted all computerized checking-in at airports across the country. The outage Tuesday emerged at around 11 a.m. ET and made it impossible to check in or board planes via the airline's check-in system at any airports in Canada. Source
  • China's Xi defends global trade at World Economic Forum in Davos

    Economic CBC News
    Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday trumpeted the need for free trade and urged the world to "say no to protectionism," delivering a strong rebuke to isolationist tendencies that helped fuel Donald Trump's presidential election victory. Source
  • CMHC to hike mortgage insurance premiums by an average of $5 a month

    Economic CBC News
    The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation will charge borrowers a few dollars more every month to insure their mortgages starting in March. The housing agency made the announcement in a release Tuesday. Starting March 17, CMHC will charge mortgage holders slightly more every month to insure their loans. Source
  • Silk, steam and slogans: Inside a North Korean factory

    Economic CTV News
    PYONGYANG, Korea, Democratic People's Republic Of -- As the morning light poured through large windows, women wearing olive-colored overalls, pink aprons and headscarves stood at stations where silkworms were being boiled. Some used their bare hands to pull silk thread from the boilers and winced as the steam rose toward their faces. Source
  • CMHC to raise mortgage insurance premiums for homebuyers as of March 17

    Economic CTV News
    OTTAWA - Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. is raising the cost of mortgage loan insurance effective March 17. The Crown corporation estimates the increases will add about $5 to a monthly mortgage payment for its average homebuyer. Source
  • Here's why your mortgage payments will rise as of March 17

    Economic CTV News
    Canada's federal housing agency is hiking the cost of mortgage loan insurance for homebuyers starting March 17, as part of new regulatory requirements requiring it to hold more capital to offset risks in the country's red-hot real estate market. Source
  • Rolls Royce agrees to pay $808 million on bribery claims

    Economic CTV News
    LONDON - Jet engine maker Rolls Royce has agreed to pay 671 million pounds ($808 million) to settle bribery and corruption charges brought by authorities in Britain, the U.S. and Brazil. A U.K. High Court judge will examine the deferred prosecution agreement during a public hearing on Tuesday. Source