A lawsuit filed in Los Angeles earlier this week by a California resident brings to light allegations that Dole misrepresented and misled its consumers with false environmental claims about its bananas.
Clayton Laderer, who filed the suit, said that Dole—the world’s largest producer of fresh produce—often markets its bananas as being farmed in sustainable, ecologically responsible methods when in actuality, many of the farming situations are anything but that. Laderer’s complaint states: “some of Dole’s bananas, including bananas grown in impoverished areas of Guatemala, are produced in a way that destroys natural ecosystems, contaminates the drinking water of affected communities, and poisons local residents.”
A Guatemala plantation named in the lawsuit involved the drainage of more than 1,200 acres of wetlands as well as the construction of a dam that ended up causing severe flood damage, destroying local farms and cropland.
Filing the complaint as a class-action lawsuit, Laderer claims that had this information about Dole’s destructive practices been made clear, he would not have purchased the bananas, and it’s likely that other consumers would have also spent their money elsewhere, he suggests.
The suit comes in the same week as the release of a video from the environmental organization ForestEthics that brings to light Dole’s massive fuel dependency necessary for trucking its trillions of bananas across the country. According to the video, the company is using fuel from Canada’s tar sands—a controversial method of oil extraction that devastates the region leaving scars visible from space. The organization’s website notes, “The toxic water dumped into open pits by tar sands operations leaks at the rate of 11 million litres (3 million gallons) per day into the surrounding environment.”
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