Who grew your rice?

Posted on October 7th, 2009 by

In this BBC story,  British student Stacey tells her story of spending five weeks in southeast Asia, working in the industries that supply Britain with its seafood and rice. Stacey came away from the experience confident in the quality and safety of the food being produced, but stunned and shocked by the toll it takes on workers.  She came away from her experience asking why so little attention has been paid to the  working conditions for food industry workers. Labor activists have focused on  working conditions for clothing manufacturers (the No Sweat campaign, for instance), and food activists have drawn our eyes to the distances that our food travels to reach our plate. She asks, “If there are such strict rules and regulations concerning food quality, why can’t we have rules put in place to ensure the lives of the workers are a better quality too?” She notes, “Buying Fair Trade is a start, but I think the answer is to bring in laws that raise standards, to make sure food we buy in the UK is being produced by workers that are living decent lives, rather then just surviving for our benefit.”

So, what about it? What responsibilities do we have to the lives of the people who grow our food? How can we realistically fulfill those responsibilities?


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