Down The Supermarket

I may have posted a mention of some of these articles previously, but I’m gathering them together here because they all involve your local supermarket:

Tesco to be grilled on suppliers

A Tesco shareholder has amassed enough support from other investors to force the issue of treatment of suppliers on to the agenda at its annual meeting.

Ben Birnberg, who works for lobby group War On Want, has letters of support from the 100 shareholders he needs.

In December last year, Tesco and other UK firms strongly denied allegations by the group that their suppliers were exploiting workers in Bangladesh.

Tesco said its ethical standards on worker welfare were closely monitored.

Mr Birnberg, who is War On Want’s company secretary, is calling for an independent audit to ensure that workers in Tesco’s supplier factories are guaranteed decent working conditions.

His motion also says the audit should check that workers receive “a living wage, job security, freedom of association and of collective bargaining including, where available, the right to join a trade union of their choice”.

The motion acknowledges that Tesco says it provides a “market-leading package of pay and benefits”, that its core values include “treating our partners as we like to be treated” and seeking “to uphold labour standards in the supply chain”.

But it suggests that the company’s third-party audits have failed to register unacceptable working conditions that contravene its values.

» Full article

Asda to cut out additives by 2008
Asda, the UK supermarket chain owned by US retailer Wal-Mart, will remove all artificial colours and flavours from its own-brand food and drinks by 2008.

The news comes after a recent report advised parents not to give their children food containing certain additives because of health concerns.

The move will cover 9,000 own-label food and drink products, Asda said…

… Explaining its decision to halt the use of artificial colours and flavours, Asda said it was acting because “mums and dads are becoming more and more concerned about what’s in the food they buy”.

Asda – which is owned by US retail giant Wal-Mart – will replace the fake flavours with natural ones where necessary, while many others will simply be removed.

Earlier this month, a study said that parents should avoid giving their children foods containing a number of so-called E numbers because they could have an effect on their behaviour.

A warning came after a team at the University of Southampton tested the additives tartrazine (E102), ponceau 4R (E124), sunset yellow (E110), carmoisine (E122), quinoline yellow (E104) and allura red AC (E129).

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) said it would not issue formal recommendations until the findings were published.

» Full article

More stories:
Guardian: 6p a T-shirt. 30p an hour for shelling cashews. Supermarkets accused of exploiting women

Metro: Tesco accused of exploiting clothes workers

The Register: Asda launches chavved-up sweets for mingers

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