U.S. Forced Food Labor

The Lempert Report
August 03, 2023

Here's a really interesting story that I never really thought about. Here in the US, 62% of all of our food is being produced under forced food labor. I thought that only happened in third world countries. 

Sally: Yes, and I think that a lot of people have the same thought as you feel. They don't really realize that it happens in the United States, but a study was published in the journal Nature about this and they found that 62% of the food that was produced using forced labor came from the United States. Now this forced labor is described basically as workers being intimidated. They're using accumulated debt, retention of identity papers or threats of denunciation to immigration authorities to keep them there working and not letting them make their own decisions about that. 

Phil: And most of them being underpaid. So for us in the US it's a major problem. Again,US is the number one source. Number two source is China and Mexico, but they're only at 13% and 8% of the risk as compared to our 62%. And the other thing that's so interesting that was a number that I forgot until I was reading this study is that most of the apple juice Concentrate in the US comes from China, and that's under forced labor as well. So it's important next time you get some apple juice to see the country of origin of it to make sure that you're getting the safest product possible and hopefully at good wages for for workers.