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Slave Labor Found at Starbucks-Certified Brazil Coffee Plantation

Brazil Labor Ministry investigators have raided the Córrego das Almas farm in Piumhi, in rural Minas Gerais state, and rescued 18 workers who were laboring on coffee plantations in conditions analogous to slavery…

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Slave Labor Found at Starbucks-Certified Brazil Coffee Plantation
  • Brazil Labor Ministry investigators have raided the Córrego das Almas farm in Piumhi, in rural Minas Gerais state, and rescued 18 workers who were laboring on coffee plantations in conditions analogous to slavery.
  • The Córrego das Almas farm holds the C.A.F.E. Practices certification, owned by Starbucks in partnership with SCS Global Services. After hearing of the raid, the two companies responsible for issuing the seal said they would review the farm’s quality certificate. Starbucks says it hasn’t bought coffee from the farm in recent years.
  • The farm also holds the UTZ seal, a Netherlands-based sustainable farming certificate prized by the coffee industry. That seal of approval was suspended after the certifier was questioned by Repórter Brasil regarding the Ministry of Justice investigation.
  • Another inspection in Minas Gerais, in the town of Muzambinho, rescued 15 workers in conditions analogous to slavery from a farm owned by Maria Júlia Pereira, the sister-in-law of a state deputy, Emidinho Madeira.

Ministry of Labor investigators rescued 18 workers laboring in conditions analogous to slavery on coffee farms in the state of Minas Gerais; one of those farms held international certifications. Image by Adere.

At first sight, the Córrego das Almas farm in Piumhi, in rural Minas Gerais state, seems to be a model property. “No slave or forced labor is allowed,” reads one of several signs that display international certifications — including one linked to the U.S.-based company Starbucks corporation.

But investigators have found that laborers on the farm’s coffee plantations were working under degrading conditions and living in substandard housing without sewerage or drinking water. A Ministry of Labor team inspection conducted at the site rescued 18 rural workers in conditions analogous to slavery.

The farm, locally known as Fartura (Portuguese for Abundance), also boasts the UTZ seal – a Netherlands-based sustainable farming certificate considered one of the most prestigious in the coffee industry. That seal of approval was suspended after the certifier was questioned by Repórter Brasil about the case.

The farm also holds the C.A.F.E. Practices certification — owned by Starbucks in partnership with SCS Global Services. After hearing of the raid, the two companies responsible for issuing the seal said they would review the farm’s quality certificate. The certifiers verify commodity supply chains in order to assure ethical purchases, good labor practices, and other criteria required by Starbucks and other retailers.

Starbucks coffee shop in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. One of Starbucks’ certifiers gave a seal of approval to a farm found to be operating with working conditions analogous to slavery. Upon hearing about the raid, Starbucks is investigating the farm and its certification. Image courtesy of Starbucks.

ALSO READ: VIDEO 5-Year-Old Son Finds Hidden Camera In Starbucks Bathroom

Evidence found at Fartura shows that the farm’s operating standards were far below those expected at a certified agricultural facility. “There were lots of bats and mice. We’d buy food and the mice would eat it. Then we had to buy it again,” said one of the workers rescued.

“We weren’t paid for holidays, Sundays, nothing. And we worked from Monday to Saturday with no record of the hours. During the week, we would start at 6 am and only stop at 5 pm,” says another former employee rescued from the farm, where workers received payment according to the amount of coffee they picked.

The employees lived in collective lodgings without drinking water. According to the inspectors, sanitation was so precarious that it put workers’ health at risk. The rescued group reported that dead bats were often found in the water tanks, which had no cover. This water was used for cooking and drinking.

In addition, the inspectors collected farm reports indicating that accounts payable were rigged. “We’d harvest and they’d leave it [the beans] there to be weighed the next day. When we arrived there, the coffee was gone. And then we were humiliated: we complained and they laughed in our faces,” said one of the rescued workers.

“I’ve always harvested coffee, and I’ve never been through something like that in my life. I wasn’t even able to send money home,” adds another.

It was also reported that, for workers to cash their pay checks or to buy food, they had to pay R$ 20 for a “clandestine bus” – in the words of one laborer – to go from the farm to the nearest town. “We had to pay in order to get paid,” he explained.

UTZ said the seal´s audit of the farm occurred in February 2018, and the certificate was issued in April. After Repórter Brasil questioned the organization, the certification was suspended and the group said their team would look into the conditions at the farm.

“Workers’ rights and wellbeing are of the utmost importance and are an integral part of our standard. We take those issues very seriously because something like that would violate the UTZ standard. Whenever we receive reliable evidence of breaches on UTZ certified farms, we take immediate action, which includes conducting a thorough investigation,” the organization said in a statement.

According to Starbucks, the Fartura farm has been certified since 2016, but the firm denied having “purchased or received any coffee from this farm in recent years. It said it is starting a process of investigation to re-evaluate the seal. “We are already investigating this matter and will continue to pay very close attention to issuances from the Ministry of [Brazilian] Labor and Employment and communicate expectations to our suppliers that no farm on the list may supply coffee to Starbucks,” the statement said.

SCS, a Starbucks partner on the C.A.F.E. seal, reported that inspections and audits are conducted before certifications are granted and that no signs of slave labor were detected when the process was conducted at Fartura: “Forced labor is considered a point of zero tolerance, therefore farms with forced labor would not be eligible for the status in the program.”

In addition to these two seals, another sign at Fartura suggests its certification by the 4C Association of the Coffee Assurance Services (CAS), a worldwide organization. However, the indications at the farm were that this seal was still under analysis, and “the final decision on the license has not yet been made.”

The discovery of slavery-like conditions on this particular farm points to flaws likely to be present elsewhere in the coffee certification process: “This is not the first or second time, and it will not be the last time a certified farm is charged with employing slave labor and violating labor rights,” said Jorge Ferreira dos Santos, who heads the Coordination of Rural Employers of Minas Gerais (Articulação dos Empregadores Rurais de Minas Gerais, Adere-MG) and who accompanied the Labor Ministry inspectors. The certification system is weak and not transparent, he added, and fails at “taking workers’ views and reality into account.”

The Fartura Farm is currently caring for 3 million coffee trees, while also raising so, and cattle; it has 151 employees. The property is leased and managed by Fabiana Soares. In a statement, her lawyer, Amanda Costa Ferreira, claimed that the property owner learned about the inspection “with shock” since slave labor is not the company’s “work philosophy.”

“Our farm has been operating in the coffee market for many years and has always sought to comply with all legal requirements, that includes obtaining all certifications, licenses and awards whose requirements are extremely strict,” the statement read.

Living conditions at the Córrego da Prata farm, where workers were rescued from illegal labor conditions. The farm belongs to the sister-in-law of state deputy Emidinho Madeira. Image by Adere.

Second raid rescues 15 workers

Another inspection in Minas Gerais, in the town of Muzambinho, rescued 15 workers in conditions analogous to slavery from a farm owned by Maria Júlia Pereira, the sister-in-law of a state deputy, Emidinho Madeira. The workers there included a 17-year-old.

The laborers questioned reported that they were forced to buy their own equipment, so ended up owing the farm owner R$ 2,500-3,000 before even beginning harvesting. The group also told Repórter Brasil that they were required to work 90 days straight, without a single day off. Coffee harvesting only paused on rainy days, with work generally continuous from 6 am to 8 pm, one laborer said.

“And if we stopped, the boss got angry,” added another. “It was exhausting.”

Pereira was not charged, but the workers said that she paid severance. Her lawyer Thiago de Lima Dini, issued a statement explaining that Pereira acquired the farm at the end of 2016 and that she leased it to Elias Rodrigo de Almeida in December of the same year, “ignoring any procedures and occurrences on that property.” The lawyer, who also represents Almeida, said that he “used subcontractors to hire workers” and that he is “a victim, just like other workers.”

The Córrego da Prata Farm was cited for 34 violations and paid R$ 87,000 (US$ 20,000) to the workers in damages. The Fartura farm received 27 notifications and paid R$ 71,000 in severance.

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You Can Get a Dozen Krispy Kreme Doughnuts for $1 Today

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You Can Get a Dozen Krispy Kreme Doughnuts for $1 Today

Krispy Kreme is celebrating its 82nd birthday in the best way possible: by practically giving away doughnuts.

The chain is selling one dozen Original Glazed Doughnuts for just $1 today, July 19, with the purchase of any dozen at participating shops across the U.S. While you’re there, you may want to pick up the Original Filled Birthday Batter Doughnut.

Krispy Kreme’s birthday celebrations are an annual tradition, but this time they’re doing it up extra big with the extremely limited-edition release—the birthday doughnut debuted on Monday and Sunday is the last day it’ll be on menus.

 

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Three simple words: Birthday Cake Batter 😍🤤🍩 #KrispyKreme #OurBirthdayYourParty 📷: @rosieroamingorlando

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The festive doughnut is filled with birthday cake batter, dipped in strawberry icing, and topped with party sprinkles.

“Krispy Kreme fans love to celebrate our birthday. They really make it their party, which is good with us. We’re continuing our birthday tradition of the $1 dozen deal, which is great. But this year for the first time we are filling an Original Glazed doughnut with birthday cake batter … and that’s even better,” said Dave Skena, Chief Marketing Officer for Krispy Kreme, in a statement. The chain is encouraging fans to share their celebrations on social media with #KrispyKremeBirthday and tagging @krispykreme.

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Where to Get Free Donuts for National Doughnut Day: Krispy Kreme, Walmart, Dunkin’ & more

You “donut” want to miss sweet savings Friday.

June 7 is National Doughnut Day – or National Donut Day in some circles – and shops across the country are marking the day with fried freebies and delectable deals.

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Where to Get Free Donuts for National Doughnut Day: Krispy Kreme, Walmart, Dunkin' & more

You “donut” want to miss sweet savings Friday.

June 7 is National Doughnut Day – or National Donut Day in some circles – and shops across the country are marking the day with fried freebies and delectable deals.

Celebrated annually on the first Friday in June, the day of the pastry was established in 1938 to honor the Salvation Army Donut Lassies, women who served the treats to soldiers during World War I.

Expect doughnut shops and bakeries to be crowded Friday, which is one of the busiest days of the year for bakeries.

Brad Plothow, vice president of brand and communications for Womply, a small business software provider, said consumers spend 57% more money on doughnuts for the made-up day than a typical day.

“Shops hoping to make more dough will no doubt be running special promotions, so expect big deals and long lines if you venture out for a treat at your favorite doughnut shop,” Plothow said.

According to Placer.ai, a foot-traffic analytics company, every first Friday in June, Dunkin’ has seen traffic increase by nearly 70% nationally as customers come out in droves to celebrate.

‘Donut Desperado’ wanted: Suspect steals a doughnut, live streams theft at Dunkin’ days ahead of National Donut Day

Save some dough

Participation and offers can vary by location and unless otherwise noted these deals are only available June 7 while supplies last. To be on the safe side, check with your closest location.

Bashas’ Supermarkets: Buy 12 doughnuts and get six doughnuts free Friday.

Bite Squad: On-demand restaurant delivery apps Bite Squad and Waitr are offering free delivery Friday with promo code DONUTDAY on orders placed on the apps or online at www.waitrapp.com or www.bitesquad.com.

Coupons.comThe mobile app has a rebate offer at Target and Walmart on Friday. With the app, you can earn up to $3 cash back on doughnut purchases at Target, Walmart and other grocery chains like Kroger, Ralphs, Owen’s, City Market and more. Clip the coupon in the app, then scan the receipt after you check out and the money will be deposited into your PayPal account. Download the app at www.coupons.com.

Cumberland FarmsFrom 5 to 10 a.m. Friday, get a free doughnut with purchase of any dispensed beverage, which includes hot or iced coffee, fountain or frozen beverages. This deal is only valid at new concept or remodeled locations.

Duck Donuts: Get one free bare, cinnamon sugar or powdered sugar doughnut Friday, no purchase necessary. In-store only.

Duffy’s Sports GrillOn Friday, get a free order of Red Velvet mini doughnuts with purchase of two meals.

Dunkin’Get a free classic doughnut of your choice with the purchase of any beverage all day Friday while supplies last.

Entenmann’s: The baked goods brand is accepting “donut flavor ideas” through June 14 at www.entenmanns.com/fanflavorchallenge for the chance to have their creation made during the 2019 holiday season, $5,000 and a year’s supply of donuts.

GetGo Café + Market: Get a six-pack of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts for $2.99 Friday through June 9 with the Giant Eagle Advantage Card.

Giant Eagle: Get a dozen doughnuts for $3.99 Friday at any of the company’s 216 supermarkets with the Giant Eagle Advantage Card.

Graeter’s‏: Get a free donut with purchase of any size coffee Friday at all Graeter’s bakery locations.

Hardee’s: Get free Froot Loops Mini Donuts Friday through Sunday with any purchase and a printable coupon, Offers.com reports.

Honey Dew DonutsBuy a medium beverage, get a free donut Friday.

Krispy Kreme: No purchase is necessary to get one free doughnut Friday and if Krispy Kreme gives away 1 million free doughnuts, the company says it will reward fans with a second free doughnut offer later in June. Learn more at www.krispykreme.com.

Kwik Trip: Members of Kwik Rewards can get a free Cake Donut, Dunker or Glazer Friday. Limit one per account. Learn more at www.kwiktrip.com/nationaldonutday.

LaMar’s Donuts: Get a free doughnut for stopping by Friday and if you buy a dozen doughnuts get a free cup of coffee.

Martin’s Super Markets: Pick up a free donut from the case while supplies last Friday. Limit one free donut per customer or get $1 off a dozen donuts.

RaceTrac: All Georgia locations of the Atlanta-based convenience store chain will have doughnuts for 50 cents Friday.

Salvation Army: Staff and volunteers will celebrate National Donut Day by delivering donuts and hosting events across the country. For an event in your area, contact your local Salvation Army. Learn more at www.salvationarmyusa.org/usn/national-donut-day.

Shipley Do-Nuts: From 5 a.m. to noon Friday, get a free “Glazed Do-Nut” with any purchase.

Whether you’ve had one for breakfast or as a mid day treat…have you ever stopped to wonder why this common pastry favorite has an additional shortened spelling? Buzz60’s Natasha Abellard has the story. Buzz60

Stop & Shop: A dozen pre-packaged glazed doughnuts will be $3 at all locations.

Tim Hortons: Not a deal, but U.S. locations are launching a Churro Donut. It’ll be available at participating locations Friday and then will be available nationwide starting June 12 for a limited time.

Walmart: Get one free glazed doughnut at all Walmart stores Friday in the bakery section. Limit one per person, while supplies last. The retailer expects to give away 1.2 million doughnuts.

Winn-Dixie: Glazed doughnuts are on sale through Tuesday. Buy a dozen, get a dozen free.

More deals: Locally-owned businesses and smaller chains also may have deals Friday. One of the easiest ways to find out is to check social media channels.

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Foster Farms Chicken Nuggets Recall Due to Plastic, Rubber Pieces

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Foster Farms Chicken Nuggets Recall Due to Plastic, Rubber Pieces

Foster Poultry Farms of Farmerville, Louisiana is recalling approximately 220,450 pounds of fully-cooked frozen chicken breast nuggets that may be contaminated with pieces of plastic and rubber.

The Class 1 high health risk recall was issued on April 29, 2016, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).

The fully-cooked frozen chicken nuggets were produced on February 22 and March 8, 2016. The following products are subject to recall:

5-lb. bags containing FOSTER FARMS “Breast Nuggets – Nugget Shaped Breaded Chicken Breast Patties with Rib Meat.” The bags exhibit best by dates of 2/21/17 and 3/8/17.

10-lb. bulk boxes containing FOSTER FARMS “Fully Cooked Breast Nuggets – Nugget Shaped Chicken Breast Patties with Rib Meat Fritters.” The boxes contain package code 6053 and 6068.

The products in this recall notice bear the establishment number “P-33901” inside the USDA mark of inspection.

The products were shipped to distributors in Alaska, Arizona, California, Utah, and Washington state.
The problem with the “extraneous materials” in the products came to light after the company received several consumer complaints, according to Food Safety News. The company immediately notified the FSIS on Feb. 29.

There have been no confirmed reports of injury from consumption of the products, but if anyone is concerned or suspects they have been injured, they need to contact their health care provider.

Consumers are urged to not consume these products. They should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase. Consumers with questions about the recall can contact the Foster Farms Recall hotline at 1-800-338-8051.

 Just three days ago, Digital Journal reported that Waco, Texas-based Pilgrim’s Pride had expanded a Class 1 high health risk recall of over 4.5 million pounds of fully-cooked frozen chicken products because of plastic, rubber, wood, and metal pieces in the products.
It might be a good idea to be very careful about eating any frozen, fully cooked chicken products until the FSIS sorts this mess out. It is entirely possible there may be more recalls to come.

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