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Discussion in 'The Late Night Cafe (off-topic)' started by kuan, Apr 21, 2016.
Have a read.
Well, your/our clothes, shoes, electronics, are all made by slaves, why would/should food be different?
If you (we) don't think that the corporations importing, distributing, and selling illegal seafood are aware of this and tacitly approve, you (we) are naive.
Is this a politically correct topic to be discussing on cheftalk?
Realistic ones, I mean. Some avoidance is possible, but this issue is so pervasive throughout most consumer goods
As well as the world's oldest profession.
We can cluck our tongues and shake our heads until the cows come home but until the powers that be (not just here at home in the USA but most every modern, industrialized nation on the face of mother earth) stop propping up the countries that perpetuate this sort of thing it will continue.
Those who close their eyes and shovel out billions for "relief aid" with one hand while hauling in cheap merchandise with the other (won't even mention the elephant drenched in crude oil standing in the corner) have to get serious about the issue or it will continue.
does it matter? is being PC out of style now?
@The novice The basis of this discussion is slavery and the market, not fish, imo. I personally don't have a problem with it, but cheftalk can be a bit. . . sensitive to discussions like this.
Just read the news. PC is not out of style. It's becoming as ubiquitous as pants.
I have always known that other consumer goods are produced by workers in extremely poor conditions. Maybe at some point Nike was producing shoes in factories run by slave labor, but I'm pretty sure this doesn't happen anymore.
I can see how this can happen in the fishing industry. Pirates, slaves, all can pass unseen by very nature of the environment. I'm going to be even more vigilant about the fish I eat nowadays.
A very important topic I would agree..however I also concur with Jake,
discussions of this type in here often end in locked threads.....
and upon occasion, banned members. Not the issues themselves being the
culprits, rather the emotional passions that tend to piggy back into them.
A friend of mine grew up in India. He recently visited and after living a long time in US he's noticing the poverty more than when he lived there. According to him doing hard work for little money is an expected part of the culture, and for them it is a step-up in terms of overall quality of life. I found the last comment of his to be totally bizarre but he points out that with even small earnings some of these people can now afford housing and food that they could not previously afford to buy. I believe that situation may extend throughout the world's developing nations.
Don't mean to derail the topic, but here in Canada, we are selling $15 billion worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia so they can keep treating women like dirt and killing political activists. All the while the king and his family F**k whores, do lines of H, and get drunk off their asses, ALL THE WHILE CLAIMING TO BE MUSLIM (Reminds me a lot of millionaire hypocrite evangelical pastors who milk their religious sheep while boozing, fornicating, and doing meth).
Google Joe Fresh and Bangladesh, it happens, but its been normalized and the PR team works 24/7 to make sure johnny and jane don't find out
How about here in the US? Check this out http://www.foodispower.org/slavery-in-the-us/.
What does this have to do with slavery/human trafficking ?
Slander will get us nowhere....and possibly get the thread locked.
Was anyone surprised? I must say I was, but it is very conceivable that this kind of thing happens. I'm not saying other things don't happen which are just as bad as slavery in the fishing industry, I'm just pointing out my surprise. I am also going to be very careful about where I buy my fish from now on.
I am not approaching this issue as any kind of activist, but I realize I do have a stake in this, and I will do my part.
And yes, if you don't mean to derail the topic then don't. You don't have to say everything that comes to mind everywhere and anywhere you get a chance.
Kudos and ditto.
Once again the same sentiment from me. Well said!
I could be wrong (and should probably let Novice speak for him or herself) but I'm guessing the gist of that rant was :
If you want this kind of behavior to stop (at least imports into this country), then stop enabling it by supporting governments and economies of countries that ignore human rights abuses.
Unfortunately, that's the way the (corporate) world works. As long as a few bucks are exchanged, all is good. Until a ground swell of popular disgust rises (i.e. Social Media/ EntertainmentNews) and/ or they experience massive profit loss. Then and only then do they change their MO.
China still employs abusive labor/ environmental policies, yet what is the trade deficit with the US? People still keep buying Chinese crap.
I like to think we all do the best we can, but in many, maybe even most, cases essentials like produce involves some uncomfortable realities that aren't likely to change soon.
I live on the Pacific coast of Mexico, surrounded by organic farms that provide fresh produce for high-end markets like Whole Foods and brands like Driscoll's. For the most part, field workers are indigenous people from Oaxaca, a state in southern Mexico, who come north to work the fields and live in campos up in the hills. FWIW, that tends to be the same demographic who work the fields in the US, too.
Unless they work for one of the few local cooperatives like Viva Organica, the best case scenario is they will earn Mexican minimum wage ($73mxn, about $4usd) for a day's labor, which is nine hours.
I say best case scenario because that's what happens when the worker has a birth certificate which means he can be legally employed and the employers keep their side of the bargain. That is not often the case with people born in native villages or rural campos who have to work under the table. In what I've observed, pay often hovers around $11usd a week for people who work in the cucumber hot houses and asparagus fields. I imagine the berry pickers a bit farther south are probably making closer to minimum wage or maybe a little above, thanks in part to their ongoing strike, but it's nowhere near the 300mxn (17usd) a day they were asking for.
Earning $4usd a day would be one thing if basic goods were less expensive than they are in the US, but that's not really the case in the areas where much of the food is grown.
I'm looking right now at the receipt for my last quick run to the local market five days ago. I just needed to grab some essentials so I bought a carton of eggs (47mxn), a half gallon of milk (28mxn), a sack of flour (48mxn) a kilo of potatoes (32mxn) a kilo of pears (32mxn) and some toilet paper (24mxn), The total was 211 pesos, or just about three days' pay for a farm worker.
My partner and I volunteer within the Oaxaqueño field communities to help provide meals for the children and food education for the adults. This is a photo I took in March 2015 at one of the local campos. The woman in the blue top is a field worker. The girl in the red top is 12 or 13 and stays home to look after the children. There is no running water or sanitation, though in another camp there is a pump and a cliff over which they dump their waste to not contaminate the fields. Electricity is a rarity, since it only comes by dangerous "diablos" rigged directly from a power line.
Most people, however conscientious or well-meaning, just aren't in the position to escape participating in a system that keeps field laborers living in dirt-floored shacks made out of plywood, cardboard and found bits of plastic. In Mexico and the US, these are the people who plant and pick the vast majority of our produce.
It stinks, but for every restaurant that can buy exclusively from cooperatives where everyone along the supply is treated with dignity and paid a living wage there are going to be countless others that simply can't.
It's a rotten situation with no real broadly applicable solution. So sometimes I think the best we can do is be aware of how things are and treat our ingredients with respect to honor the hard work involved in getting that blackberry or onion or little garnish of cilantro on our tables.