Food for thought

Published 2:40 pm Saturday, December 5, 2009

This was a news story I thought would test my theory about media in this country.

Currently in Florida there are prosecutions under way concerning the abuse and enslavement of agricuture workers in tomato and citrus orchards. The news story was broken by a Florida reporter, then passed on to other state media. I was curious if any major media outlet would carry the story. After a week, only one has carried a short interview with the Florida reporter.

Currently the case involves at least a dozen indictments, though more are expected. Investigators tell the reporter that they believe at least 5 percent of tomato pickers suffer from brutallity and slavery conditions, which, when considering the total number of tomato pickers, could be in the hundreds, if not thousands. A number of the workers rescued were being shackled in chains. Many others work nonstop, only to receive wages to pay high rents for the shacks they are forced to live in. Children of the workers are followed to school by plantation thugs, making sure the kids return to the fields. Workers who are allowed to leave the fields are treated with the same scrutiny. Many workers are never allowed to leave the farm. They speak of armed guard patrols.

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A side note: Some of those shackled were American citizens, not just the popularity loathed illegal immigrants.

Question: Who among the public has heard this story? And remember this: Since nearly all tomatoes produced come from Florida, every 20th fruit you slice and dice into your health salad is slave-labor produced.

Bon apetite.

Patrick Cunningham

Twin Lakes