By Carol McCracken (Post # 760)
Yesterday a lawsuit against Whole Foods Market Inc. was given permission to proceed by a Florida circuit judge. The lawsuit, originally filed several years, claims that Whole Foods violated Florida’s deceptive trade-practices law because it sold frozen vegetables from China grown in a polluted region by prisoners and certified as organic, according to a press release from Sustainable Food News.
A motion to dismiss the lawsuit was dismissed by the Judge.
The lawsuit claims Whole Foods knew that its supplier, based in the Chinese province of Zhejiang, was actually a front company for a network of farms owned by the Chinese government where prisoners are ordered to work and that the farms are irrigated from a very polluted river, said the press release. The suit also claims the world’s largest retailer of organic certification is owned by the Chinese government, creating a conflict of interest.
“They’re doing everything they can to conceal this bogus or shaky certification,” Bruce Baldwin, according to the plaintiff’s attorney.
Whole Foods brags about its social accountability audits of all of its foreign suppliers. So either they knew about these forced labor camps, or they didn’t actually check.”
“Sustainable Food News” is published by Hill resident Dan McGovern. For more information, please contact him at 207 749-5249. It is a daily on-line newsletter to the organic food industry.