Tell Sainsbury’s Not To Sell Stolen Dates

0 Signatures | Petition Ended

Created August 6, 2014 by Irfan Anwar

Human Rights

Please sign this petition and let sainsbury’s know our joint concerns along with this letter.

During ramadan, my family, friends and i usually buy more dates than at any other time of the year. Last year, i noticed that you stock dates supplied by the israeli exporter mehadrin. Mehadrin is well known for sourcing produce from growers based in illegal settlements and i therefore i would like to ask you to stop using them. There are a number of reasons why sainsbury’s should stop trading with mehadrin and a few questions which need addressing:

1. Sainsbury’s states that it is a non-political organisation but that it sources produce using high ethical standards. To use mehadrin as a source violates this standard as mehadrin has consistently misled consumers on the origins of produce with its incorrect labelling. When questioned about this by other supermarket chains, mehadrin has stated that it merely packs produce in settlements; a claim which is clearly fabricated when one considers the complexities on the ground with moving produce from israel into illegal settlements. In light of these facts, has sainsbury’s adequately investigated mehadrin in order to ensure that its stringent ethical conditions are met before trading with them?

2. I understand that sainsbury’s states that it is not currently sourcing any products from israeli settlements in the west bank. However, the use of mehadrin means that even those dates labelled as the ‘produce of israel’ are unlikely to be purely israeli produce. Mehadrin is well known for being heavily involved in sourcing fresh produce from settlements and therefore any produce supplied by them is likely to be at least partially from illegal settlements.

3. I understand that sainsbury’s works hard to label products clearly and accurately so that customers can make an informed choice when shopping. However, the use of mehadrin as a supplier undermines you commitment to clear labelling as the company’s history of mislabelling means that your customers are potentially being misinformed about the origins of their food. Has sainsbury’s taken adequate steps to investigate whether mehadrin is complying with labelling regulations?

4. I understand that sainsbury’s are founding members of the ethical trading initiative (eti) and require all suppliers to meet the eti base code for ethical sourcing. However, mehadrin is an unethical company which owns farmland in illegal israeli settlements. Thus, it participates in the theft of palestinian land and water; and also employs palestinians forced to work in unsafe and exploitative conditions for as little as £9 per day. These facts are diametrically opposed to the eti initiative. In short, the evidence shows that any trade with mehadrin is unethical and supports human rights abuses against palestinians. As an organisation which prides itself on ethical business practices, sainsbury’s should stop trading with mehadrin, as coop has done. Coop’s ‘human rights and trade policy’ means it will not deal with any supplier which operates in illegal israeli settlements, including mehadrin. I would encourage sainsbury’s to adopt a similar position.

I would be grateful for your response to the serious concerns outlined in this letter.


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