The Real Hummus Scandal

Kate V

Heard about the latest hummus scandal? While the latest recall of Trader Joe’s and Target hummus may certainly be a cause for concern, I think that the real hummus scandal that should be trending is corporate giant Nestle’s Tribe Mediterranean Foods’ failure to follow safety procedures in a New England hummus plant.

Daniel Collazo, 28-year-old Puerto Rican immigrant, father, and employee of Tribe, died in 2011 – caught in the hummus grinder and crushed to death. Tribe was warned of the safety hazards practiced at that New England plant, yet unsafe practices continued.

Tribe paid $540,000 in fines, but often, these fines are less than the amount of money it would take to enforce the safety regulations. This is a disincentive to protect employees and could, in theory, be resolved through policy changes.

According to Marcy Goldstein-Gelb, executive director of the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health, said some employers view these “safety penalties as ‘just a cost of doing business.’”

“We know there are employers out there doing this cost-benefit analysis,” Goldstein-Gelb said. “If you’re having an employee do life-threatening work, risking being killed, to not ensure that essential life-saving measures are in place is effectively negligent. And it is reckless and unconscionable.”(Read More Here)

According to Collazo, “They waited for something bad to happen” … “They just use people like us—take advantage of us. They just throw you in there and it’s like, what happens, happens.”

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1 Comment

  1. Millie Goebel

    This post immediately made me think back to reading The Jungle by Upton Sinclair and being absolutely horrified. You would like to think unsafe practices in the food industry would have evolved to become safer with technological advancements but that is not the case. It makes me think, what is the true of a profit? How much are businesses willing to sacrifice, limit, and dismiss in order to make their business successful? If a humans life is worth shedding down your operation expenses not only do we have a safety issue on our hands but a moral dilemma.


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