Biotechnology and crop chemical giant Monsanto, also known as a consistent violator of food integrity in FIC terms, has been linked to yet another breach of global community values. The Associated Press reported Monday that Argentina’s tax agency raided a Monsanto contractor and discovered “slave-like conditions” among its corn farmworkers. AP writes:
The AFIP tax agency says Rural Power SA hired all its farmhands illegally, prevented them from leaving the fields and withheld their salaries. They had to de-tassel corn 14 hours a day and buy their food at inflated prices from the company store.
AFIP says it will hold the American agro-giant responsible for its contractor’s slave-like labor conditions.
Props to the officials in Argentina for standing up against Monsanto, a move seemingly rare in the United States (where the company’s interests basically guide diplomacy abroad). It’s easy for U.S. agribusinesses to take advantage of farmworkers and other undocumented workers in the food industry who have no whistleblower protections. Transparency is also a constant struggle in the food system, with no help from Monsanto, who lobbied for legislation that would criminalize whistleblowers utilizing video to unveil wrongdoing at agricultural operations.
Hopefully this news will be a wake-up call for U.S. authorities that Monsanto needs more oversight in light of its disregard for those we rely on to put food on our plate.
Sarah Damian is Communications Manager for the Food Integrity Campaign.