Americans eat a lot of packaged foods, but do you ever wonder what kind of magical land these boxes of convenient tastiness come from? There’s no army of dough-tossing elves trapped inside a pizza factory: the reality is much cooler. [More]
If you’re going to perform hard work for long hours, at least you should receive a reasonable wage during a time of high inflation in your country. Right? That’s not generally the case in Bangladesh, where as many as 100,000 workers have taken to the streets to demand a minimum wage of $104 per month, up from the current minimum of $39. [More]
Always wondered how marshmallow Peeps are made? Wonder no more. Two billion of the marshmallow critters come out of the production lines in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania every year, most of them for the Easter rush. From start to finish, it takes six minutes for the machinery to make a Peep. [NY Daily News]
After a fire at a Bangladesh factory that supplied clothing to Walmart and other stores killed 112 workers in November, Walmart has announced that it is taking its suppliers around the globe to task when it comes to subcontracting their work. In other words, if Walmart doesn’t approve of the factories suppliers use, it’ll drop those companies lickety-split. [More]
Earlier this week, a Foxconn factory in Taiyuan, northern China, shut down production when a brawl broke out in the dormitories that involved as many as 2,000 workers. The real question is this: how long until it happens again? [More]
Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Foxconn has factories just about everywhere in the world, and they make stuff for just about every gadget company that you can think of. This makes any news coming out of the company, from 2010′s suicide cluster to last year’s explosion, fascinating to us. But it’s hard to look at your Xbox quite the same way after learning that hundreds of Foxconn workers reportedly took to the roof and threatened suicide over severance payments. [More]
Three hundred people in New Jersey are losing their jobs, and it’s all our fault. Enough consumers prefer to buy digital downloads (when we buy music at all) that Sony is closing down their Pitman, NJ CD factory at the end of March. [More]
Gizmodo reports, based on a story in the subscription-only El Norte, that workers in a Foxconn factory in Juarez, Mexico became enraged and set the building on fire. Supervisors had misled the workers into working unpaid overtime. A delightful follow-up to the Reuters report about a Foxconn security guard threatening a foreign reporter. [Gizmodo] (Thanks, GitEmSteveDave!) [More]
Was anything you own made with forced or child labor? It’s more likely than you think. Last week, the U.S. Department of Labor finally released a long-awaited report on the use of child labor or forced labor worldwide. The unsurprising result: Children and forced laborers work in agriculture, mining, and manufacturing worldwide.
If you’re noticing a lack of mechanically separated chicken and hydrolyzed corn gluten in your diet, you’re not alone. The tragic ConAgra factory explosion that killed three people near Raleigh, N.C. ended Slim Jim production until this fall. [Update: The factory is reopening on July 27.] It was the only place where the snack sticks are manufactured.
John read our post yesterday about Naked Juice‘s decision to remove vitamins and herbal stuff from some of their product line, and forwarded us a response he got from the company a month ago. His question: if Strawberry Kiwi Kick contains 14 strawberries, why does the nutritional label say it contains 0% vitamin C? The answer is a good reminder of the difference between fresh food and food that’s been processed, conveniently packaged, and wrapped up in some healthy-looking branding.
Mars Petcare US is recalling 14 brands of dry dog and cat food made between February and July of this year, after two people who may have had contact with some of the food became infected with Salmonella. If you feed your dog or cat any of the brands listed below, here’s how to check the package code.
Sweatshop In Queens Produced Clothes For Macy's, the Gap, Banana Republic, Urban Apparel, and Victoria's Secret
New York state labor officials are bringing one of their largest cases ever against Jin Shun, a clothing factory in Queens, New York that employed Chinese immigrants. Inspectors say the company
- cheated its workers out of more than $5 million in pay;
- instructed workers to lie to state inspectors;
- required 6 and 7-day workweeks, sometimes for up to 120 days at a time;
- didn’t pay overtime or minimum wage;
- kept two sets of timecards to fake-out inspectors.
Macy’s says they’re “very concerned” about the case and are investigating it, the Gap says they’re cooperating with authorities, and Victoria’s Secret says they have a “zero tolerance policy” for factories that are unwilling to work with them to achieve compliance—all of which makes us wonder whether any of these companies ever investigated the factory personally. (It’s not like it was in some remote part of China.)
A woman in Slovenia who found a preserved mouse foot in her jar of pickles complained to the Health Ministry. A ministry official wrote back with a summary of how mice parts end up in factory-made food products, and then concluded, “A mice-foot therefore could be classified as a special additive to the pickles.”
Worried that the whole tainted export thing might further poison their image, China this week revoked the export licenses of 750 toy factories citing quality control problems. The move came just as the Senate Commerce Committee passed the CPSC Reform Act, which would strengthen domestic toy safety standards and impose penalties of up to $100 million on companies that sell dangerous toys.
Despite the announcement of the license suspensions, Chinese regulators said 99 percent of toy exports in southern Guangdong Province, near Hong Kong, met quality standards.
With the Gap embarrassed this week by reports that Indian children as young as 10 were making Gap Kids clothing, a lot of people are asking, just how frequently and to what degree do large U.S. companies like Gap and Wal-Mart monitor their foreign manufacturers? According to Slate, “anywhere from six months to once every several years.” Unfortunately, because the visits are usually announced ahead of time, factories can hide violations, coach employees on what to say, get rid of the child workers, and forge records. In China, there are consultants who will prepare a factory for inspection, going so far as to fake missing records.