According to the Norwegian daily Aftenposten, the banana industry in Latin America is often connected to child labor, threats, sexual assaults and use of poisonous chemicals which are dangerous for the workers. If the workers try to organize, they are fired. These are the main conclusions in a survey the Norwegian consumer report has conducted in collaboration with its sister organizations in Europe. Together they have studied the industry’s ethical standard.
The banana brands Del Monte and Bonita receives the grade F in the survey. These bananas are sold at the Norwegian grocery stores Rimi, ICA, Maxi and ICA SparMat.
According to the consumer report, Bonita is the producer which has gotten the most complaints because of child labor and ban against labor unions. Also the brand Del Monte works against unions, the survey stated.
«If this is right, then we view this case very seriously,» said Christian Sulheim at ICA Norge to Aftenposten. «We can not accept such conditions.»
Sulheim said that the grocery chain might stop selling some banana brands.
«But we do not wish to take this decision before we have studied the survey further and had a dialogue with our suppliers,» Sulheim said.
Max Havelaar and Chiquita are the brand which received the highest marks for ethical standards. These brands also scores high in all other categories.
In the survey, the banana producers are ranked according to how good they are to protect the environment, how they use insecticides, the working conditions and if the producer contributes to economic growth in the area.