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U.S. blocks imports of tomatoes from Mexican farm over forced labor allegations

Christian Fernsby |
Effective Oct. 21, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at all U.S. ports of entry will detain fresh tomatoes produced by the tomato farm Agropecuarios Tom S.A. de C.V., and Horticola S.A de C.V., and their subsidiaries.

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CBP issued a Withhold Release Order (WRO) against Agropecuarios, Horticola, and their subsidiaries based on information that reasonably indicates the use of forced labor against its workers.

CBP identified at least five of the International Labor Organization’s indicators of forced labor during its investigation, including abuse of vulnerability, deception, withholding of wages, debt bondage, and abusive working and living conditions.

This WRO will only affect fresh tomato imports into the United States from this specific farm and its subsidiaries.

Federal statute 19 U.S.C. 1307 prohibits the importation of merchandise produced, wholly or in part, by convict labor, forced labor, and/or indentured labor, including forced or indentured child labor. CBP detains shipments of goods suspected of being imported in violation of this statute. Importers of detained shipments have the opportunity to export their shipments or demonstrate that the merchandise was not produced with forced labor. â– 

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