Food Industry: using Covid-19 as an excuse to stop using Fairtrade produce

Please read about the plight of Fairtrade  farmers:

After a decade of sourcing cocoa and sugar for KitKat in the UK and Ireland, Nestlé have informed Fairtrade they no longer plan to buy Fairtrade cocoa and sugar from some of the world’s most vulnerable small scale farmers.  “

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Food industry: China reports 10.4% (35/338) of swine workers were positive for G4 EA H1N1 virus

In 2018 there was widespread African swine flu reported

And we all worry that we may have a repeat of the 2009 H1N1 type pandemic running alongside Covid 19.

Making a vaccine through ‘reassortant’

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Exploitation of food industry workers: Covid 19 highlights their plight

We know how we get our food to our table. To get it cheaply we rely on exploited workers. The economics of the food industry needs analysing whilst it is under the spotlight of Covid 19. Note suggestions for us to consider

Firstly, in the UK, once volunteers were called for to help bring in produce from the fields, replacing the usual migrant workers due to Covid 19 restrictions, they were asked to live in the close quartered, unpleasant farm buildings where desperate migrant workers lived during their seasonal work. Most volunteers refused to take up the work once they saw the dangers of possibly picking up the virus whilst working in the fields and living in unsanitary conditions. So a special government policy was brought to bear to allow the migrants in, mostly from Bulgaria and Romania. The farmers were relieved to sell their produce which they had feared would have to be thrown away if no one picked it.

See and read about the exploitation of workers as viewed by this research in March 2018.

And here we are asked to treat these workers with the respect they deserve. This article back in 2012.

There has been a campaign by ALEC to get workers back into employment before the safety of their workplaces has been solved to their satisfaction.

“Documents obtained by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) show that a powerful corporate lobby front group, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), is playing a leading role in the right-wing movement to push for early reopening of the economy amidst the coronavirus pandemic that has cost the United States 61,680 lives to date.”

June 2020 US outbreaks among vegetable packing workers

COVID-19 Infections Rising Among Vegetable Packing Workers in California

Meanwhile, coronavirus cases near tomato-growing Immokalee, Florida, are also on the rise. The spread of the coronavirus among Florida farm workers has significant implications for national food production, as many agricultural workers travel north through the summer following the harvest through Georgia, the Carolinas, and into the Northeast.”

July 2020, outbreak amongst vegetable workers at A S Green in Herefordshire, England

It employs about 200 seasonal pickers and packers from Eastern Europe to help with the crop. 

“We confirm that we are working closely with, Public Health England and the Public Health team at Herefordshire Council to support a number of our workers that have tested positive for COVID-19. As a precautionary measure we have arranged for testing of additional key workers including management team members and visitors connected with A S Green and can confirm all results to date outside of our site have been returned with negative results. To date there are 73 positive cases on our site.”

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Feeding SARS coV-2 infected food to the world

In this article:

It is suggested rigorous testing is urgently needed to accurately test food which may contain SARS coV-2 as a result of a worker with the virus contaminating the food before it reaches the consumer. Testing workers is a number 1 priority. Testing food before it is packaged and despatched is the second priority.

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, testing for virus infection in foods was developed after children in Germany became ill after eating strawberries picked and frozen in China. See

Many countries, such as the USA, rely on undocumented, immigrant workers to maintain their food supply chain. There are about 175,000 in the USA. Often unable to speak English, intimidated by the gangs who organise them and their employers, desperate for money to live and to one day enjoy life without fear, these people may fall ill but dare not stop working or tell their employers they feel ill.

“Still, most jobs are rural, limiting workers’ access to lawyers, favorable union laws and other jobs. Hourly pay averages as low as $12.50 for backbreaking work, often conducted side-by-side. Workers who entered the country illegally or overstayed their visas fear deportation for speaking up.

“Vulnerable populations work well for them,” Joshua Specht, a University of Notre Dame professor, said of the industry.”

Consumers are now nervous about eating pre-packaged food which may carry infections, though some experts have said they have no reason to believe Covid-19 can be passed on this way.

There are signs of the public concern growing which is reflected in trends for testing. See

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Meat Processing Plants: Covid 19

As we all now know, if we didn’t before, meat is processed by workers who are forced to operate in close proximity. As a result many have succumbed to Covid 19.

Latino communities and all communities of color in the U.S. are being affected disproportionately by the spread of coronavirus,” LULAC said in its report. “How the government responds will impact the Latino community for years to come and set a precedent for how the U.S. government responds during times of crisis and how it deals with the exigent needs of underserved communities of color.”

According to the report, some of the steps that should be taken in response to the pandemic are local and federal collection of ethnic and racial cases and deaths, the publication of immediate, critical information in Spanish, immediate temporary protective status for undocumented people working in the health fields and as essential workers, funding for small business loans and the release of immigrant detainees.

“We need to make sure we close those inequities,” Garcia said. “Otherwise, we are going to have a disproportionate impact on the Latino community in the United States.”

It was obvious that when people have no choice but to work in close proximity, such as medical professionals, they are in need of the highest form of protection. We have seen many such workers die from Covid 19, mostly due to the delay of adequate protection as their governments were too slow to react with vital health and safety measures.

It is till taking far too long for workers, who find themselves in unsafe environments, to have their work environment made safe for them to work without fear. These could be, for example, garment makers, oil workers, agricultural workers, coal miners and those who work in food markets. Those who work in food processing plants not only have suffered unsafe environments, but often, when the factory is forced to close, lose their vital employment and there is usually no safety net to provide income. Yet the conglomerates who own these massive plants will demand corporate welfare and will rarely share that with their workers.

  • In January 2020, despite Covid  19, red meat exports were holding steady in New Zealand:

  • Brazil June 2020:

As of Friday 19 June, almost 24 percent of all COVID-19 cases in Brazil’s southern Rio Grande do Sul state were workers in the local meat industry, according to labour prosecutors and state health data.”

  • And in June 2020 in the UK:

“Outbreaks in meat processing plants have been common features of the pandemic, with research by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) showing that after ships and workers’ dormitories food processing factories have been responsible for the biggest localised outbreaks.”

“Rowan Foods Wrexham is the latest food factory to be hit by a major coronavirus outbreak. An Asda meat factory has also been closed after an outbreak ”

  • And in the USA:

“Eventually, 277 of the more than 1,000 workers tested would test positive. Three workers died due to the outbreak, the Tri-City Herald reported.”

  • In Germany, late June:

Germany: New Local Corona Outbreak in Berlin, Workers Flee Gütersloh Quarantine

Scientists believe they may have found contributing factors that led to the country’s biggest single outbreak at an abattoir in North Rhine-Westphalia – cold temperatures and an insufficient air filtration system that allowed the pathogen to spread rapidly.”

Calls for change

Heil told the broadcast: “The exploitation of people from Central and Eastern Europe, which has obviously taken place there, is now becoming a general health risk in the pandemic with considerable damage.” Therefore, “there has to be a fundamental change in this industry.”

  • Selected countries meat consumption as of 2014:

  • Renewed outbreaks since lockdown eased, June 23rd 2020:

“Coronavirus latest: Fresh lockdown for German district after meat-packing outbreak”

  • And perhaps worth following is what is happening around the world where the food industry is concerned:

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The Food Industry and Covid 19

The Coronoravirus epidemic has highlighted many inequalities in society – the poorest are hit hardest by the consequences of the disease.  I will add to this blog as I research it, but do not want to delay its publication as matters are so dire for thousands of people in the world.

  • My suggestion:

It seems to me that remuneration at the top management needs to be reduced back to where it once was, when multiples of the average employee wage was not extreme. Let the money to all employees be increased substantially using freed up capital, be they public or private sector. For those without employment, fulfil the 1947 Maslow Hierarchy of Needs using a universal approach. We can’t beat what Maslow suggested. Every person is to be valued, and each will contribute in ways that improve the community in which they live with the right investment and encouragement.

  • Article explaining the added impetus by One Fair Wage campaign to engage the industry in providing decent wages to all workers. 

One Fair Wage Wants to Help Reopen Restaurants—and Change How They Pay Workers

  • YouTube Debate by Progressive Massachusetts 

  • Not for profit schemes:

Restaurant grants based on free meals and fair wages

  • Fair wage for the population of the world

  • Jobs at high risk of infection

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Christopher Columbus Statues 

This image taken 2019. A long running sore. Now many voices call for such symbols to no longer affront the daily lives of those whose ancestors helped build America (and previous empires of the world) with their suffering.

Now statues are being torn down or desecrated because the matter has not been addressed.
June 13, 2020

NCAI Statement on the Removal of Christopher Columbus Statues

WASHINGTON, DC | The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), the largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization in the country, does not acknowledge Christopher Columbus as a hero. To Indigenous peoples, he was the opposite:

[O]ut of timbers for the Santa Maria, . . . Columbus built a fort [on Hispaniola], the first European military base in the Western Hemisphere. . . . He took . . . Indian prisoners and put them aboard his two remaining ships. . . . [H]e got into a fight with Indians who refused to trade as many bows and arrows as he and his men wanted. Two were run through with swords and bled to death. Then the Nina and the Pinta set sail. . . . When the weather turned cold, the Indian prisoners began to die. . . .

In the year 1495, they went on a great slave raid, rounded up fifteen hundred Arawak men, women, and children, put them in pens guarded by Spaniards and dogs, then picked the five hundred best specimens to load onto ships. Of those five hundred, two hundred died en route. The rest arrived alive in Spain and were put up for sale. . . .

Howard Zinn, A People’s History of the United States, 3-4 (1980 Ed.).

This growing movement across the country to rid our shared spaces of symbols that represent hate, genocide, and bigotry illustrates that it is past time for all cities to stand on the right side of history moving forward,” said NCAI President Fawn Sharp.

NCAI also strongly supports the recent actions taken by United States citizens and the international community calling for proper law enforcement reforms and the recognition of basic human rights for the African American community and all communities of color. We are humbled that these voices are including Indian Country’s perspectives. NCAI encourages local governments and their citizens to seek mutual understandings of their diverse perspectives and to develop peaceful solutions that are mindful of all human beings and our rich distinct and shared histories. Together we can build the tomorrow our children deserve to lead.


About the National Congress of American Indians:

Founded in 1944, the National Congress of American Indians is the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization in the country. NCAI advocates on behalf of tribal governments and communities, promoting strong tribal-federal government-to-government policies, and promoting a better understanding among the general public regarding American Indian and Alaska Native governments, people and rights. For more information, visit


National Congress of American Indians

Embassy of Tribal Nations
National Congress of American Indians | Embassy of Tribal Nations, 1516 P Street NW, Washington, DC 20005

And a note in July 2020 from

“So, while there is little evidence that Trump and his supporters value human life, they do value statues, especially statues of anarchists: Confederate soldiers, slave owners, the founder of the Ku Klux Klan — a terrorist group — and Trump’s “hero,” Andrew Jackson, a leader in ethnic cleansing. “

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Land Grab attempted of Indian reservation whilst virus rampages

“June 6, 2020


Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe and Native Organizations Encouraged by Recent Decision in Mashpee v. Bernhardt and Now Call on DOI for Recommitment to Tribal Sovereignty.

Yesterday, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia rendered a decision in favor of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe in the case of Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe v. Bernhardt. In its opinion, Judge Paul L. Friedman ruled:

The Court will grant the Mashpee Tribe’s motion for summary judgment and deny the federal defendants’ and defendant-intervenors’ motions for summary judgment. Furthermore, because the Secretary of the Interior’s September 7, 2018 Record of Decision is arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, and contrary to law, the Court remands the matter to the Secretary of the Interior for a thorough reconsideration and re-evaluation of the evidence before him consistent with this Opinion, the 2014 M-Opinion, M-37209 – its standard and the evidence permitted therein – and the Department’s prior decisions applying the M-Opinion’s two-part test.

For the first time since the termination era, the Department of the Interior (DOI) attempted to disestablish a Tribal reservation, ordering the homelands of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe to be taken out of trust. The order from DOI Secretary David Bernhardt came on March 27, 2020, as the Tribal Nation worked to respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency, during active litigation on the status of the land, and following the rescission of the 2014 Carcieri M-Opinion and the issuance of a new 4-part test to qualify under the first definition of “Indian” in the Indian Reorganization Act (IRA). On March 30, 2020, the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe asked the Court to issue an emergency restraining order to prevent DOI from taking immediate action to disestablish its reservation.

“The DC District Court righted what would have been a terrible and historic injustice by finding that the Department of the Interior broke the law in attempting to take our land out of trust,” said Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Chairman, Cedric Cromwell. “We will continue to work with the Department of the Interior — and fight them if necessary — to ensure our land remains in trust.”

The Court ruled DOI’s 2018 decision that the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe did not prove it was “under federal jurisdiction” in 1934, and therefore did not meet the first definition of “Indian” under the IRA—making the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe ineligible to acquire land in trust—was arbitrary and capricious. It remanded the decision to DOI with clear direction to issue a decision consistent with the 2014 M-Opinion’s standard and the evidence permitted therein, as well as DOI’s prior decisions applying the 2014 M-Opinion test. The Court further directed DOI to properly address each piece of evidence, give a reasoned analysis as to whether it is probative, explain any departure from past DOI precedent, and view all probative evidence in concert rather than in isolation. And importantly, the Court’s decision also mandates that DOI maintain the land in trust pending DOI’s new determination and prevents DOI from applying its new 4-part test in this case.

“USET SPF is pleased that the Court acted swiftly and justly to provide necessary certainty to the Mashpee Wampanoag in these uncertain times,” said USET SPF President, Kirk Francis. “The Department of the Interior was under no order to take the land out of trust, and so to attempt to rob the Mashpee of their homelands is nothing short of shameful. The Department should be assisting Tribal Nations as we work to reestablish our homelands after centuries of federal action designed to assimilate and terminate. Instead, actions by this Administration are aimed at perpetuating antiquated and regressive federal policies, resulting in the destabilization of our governments. While we celebrate this victory with Mashpee and all of Indian Country today, the centuries-long fight to protect and restore Tribal homelands is ongoing and we must remain steadfast in our vigilance. We continue to stand with Mashpee as the Department reexamines its evidence on remand.”

“On behalf of the National Congress of American Indians, we congratulate the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe on their historic victory. We consider this a win for all of Indian Country,” said NCAI President Fawn Sharp. “The Mashpee Wampanoag relationship with the United States is one of political equality, derived from their inherent sovereignty, powers, and authority that long predates the United States. No federal agency or civil servant has the authority to diminish or in any way undermine that unique political relationship and standing. We will remain vigilant and stand united with Mashpee who have shaped and supported this country from the arrival of the first European settlers and will coexist as sovereign equals for generations to come.”

USET SPF and NCAI share a profound commitment to Tribal sovereignty and the restoration of Tribal homelands. In light of this commitment, we have been advocating for a fix to the Supreme Court decision in Carcieri v. Salazar since it was handed down in 2009. Carcieri has created a deeply inequitable 2-class system, in which some Tribal Nations have the ability to restore their homelands and others do not. This 2-class system serves to deny these Tribal Nations a critical component of the trust relationship, vital aspects of the exercise of inherent sovereignty, and the opportunity to qualify for several government programs.

We continue to call for the immediate passage of a fix that contains the two features necessary to restore parity to the land-into-trust process:

(1) A reaffirmation of the status of current trust lands; and

(2) Confirmation that the Secretary has authority to take land into trust for all federally recognized Tribal Nations.

While this decision is an important step toward righting centuries of wrong against the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, our collective work is not finished. We urge and await a positive determination from DOI on Mashpee’s homelands once and for all. Our organizations will continue to fight for the restoration of Tribal homelands and the full delivery of trust and treaty obligations. We call upon DOI to recommit itself to the restoration of homelands, the trust obligation, and Tribal sovereignty.  ”


About the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe:

The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, also known as the People of the First Light, has inhabited present day Massachusetts for more than 12,000 years. After an arduous process lasting more than three decades, the Mashpee Wampanoag were re-acknowledged as a federally recognized tribe in 2007. In 2015, the federal government declared 150 acres of land in Mashpee and 170 acres of land in Taunton as the Tribe’s initial reservation, on which the Tribe can exercise its full tribal sovereignty rights. The Mashpee tribe currently has approximately 2,700 enrolled citizens.


About the National Congress of American Indians:

Founded in 1944, the National Congress of American Indians is the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization in the country. NCAI advocates on behalf of tribal governments and communities, promoting strong tribal-federal government-to-government policies, and promoting a better understanding among the general public regarding American Indian and Alaska Native governments, people and rights. For more information, visit


About the USET Sovereignty Protection Fund (USET SPF): 

Established in 2014, the USET Sovereignty Protection Fund (USET SPF) is a non-profit, inter-Tribal organization advocating on behalf of thirty (30) federally recognized Tribal Nations from the Northeastern Woodlands to the Everglades and across the Gulf of Mexico. USET SPF is dedicated to promoting, protecting, and advancing the inherent sovereign rights and authorities of Tribal Nations and in assisting its membership in dealing effectively with public policy issues. 
National Congress of American Indians

Embassy of Tribal Nations

National Congress of American Indians | Embassy of Tribal Nations, 1516 P Street NW, Washington, DC 200

Please watch this YouTube made in 2017 about the Tribe holding their government accountable:

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Africa: the suffering of DR Congo peoples

Coronavirus adding to their misery. Please follow this website:

And this website:

And as the elite demand their electric cars to virtue signal to the rest of us, we see the “dirty secrets” behind the making of such cars:

Can this Covid 19 contagion around the world help call a halt to exploiting those who find themselves in poverty and rethink raising them out of their desperate lifestyles?

And when elections happen, peaceful demonstrators are arrested.

Congo Lifts Coronavirus State of Emergency

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Ibrahimi Mosque, Palestine

From MiddleEast Eye:

“During the coronavirus lockdown, everything was shut down, so the Israelis used this as a time for them to steal more land from Palestinians, because there was nothing people could do about it,” Abu Sneineh said. 

According to Jaber, “one of the most effective tools that we have used as peaceful activists to maintain our presence in the city is by organising prayers at the Ibrahimi mosque,” referring to a weeks-long campaign pre-Covid-19 that drew thousands of worshippers for morning prayers. 

Now, the soldiers only let in a few dozen worshippers at a time, Jaber said, “under the guise of health concerns because of the coronavirus”.

“We know that they don’t care about our health, because they kill us everywhere we go,” he said. “They just use this as an excuse to not let people in, and take more control.”

An enlightening newspaper story from 2010:

“Levy’s father really was running for his life: it was Palestine, or a concentration camp. Yet Levy says that the analogy is imperfect – because now the jumping man is still, sixty years later, smashing the head of the man he landed on against the ground, and beating up his children and grandchildren too. “1948 is still here. 1948 is still in the refugee camps. 1948 is still calling for a solution,” he says. “Israel is doing the very same thing now… dehumanising the Palestinians where it can, and ethnic cleansing wherever it’s possible. 1948 is not over. Not by a long way.”

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