I'm amazed at how superior your vanilla is!
- Des, The Grommet
I opened the bottle of your vanilla extract last weekend to bake some cookies and the difference in taste is extraordinary." – Judy

Child Farm Workers in the US at High Risk!

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has released a report that sounds straight out of the early
19th century.  Unfortunately, it’s occurring in 2010 right here in the USA.

The 300,000 – 400,000 children who labor in the fields here in our country, typically
work 10 hours a day (more during harvest), five to seven days a week
.  They earn much less than the minimum wage,
and their hours are often underreported by their supervisors.

The Centers for Disease Control’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
(NIOSH)
, claims that farm labor is the most dangerous possible work for children.  Not
only are they exposed to pesticides and chemical fertilizers known to be dangerous, they
are also at high risk for injury and other illnesses.  They often don’t have adequate water
and toilets available in the fields, and girls are at great risk for sexual abuse.  Children
who labor in the fields are four times more likely to die than children in other jobs!

In the 1930s, when children regularly worked in the fields, the Fair Labor Standards Act
(FLSA)
was created, but it is sorely in need of overhaul.  There are no limits on how
many hours children may work in agriculture.  While they are not allowed to work during
school hours, child farmworkers drop out of school at a very high rate, often because
their families are financially destitute.  The law says that children under 12 are not
to work in the fields; this is often disregarded.

The Children’s Act for Responsible Employment (HR3564) was introduced by Lucille
Roybal-Allard (D-CA) in the House of Representatives in September of last year
, to
make labor laws for child farmerworkers as strict as those for other occupations for
children, and would require the Labor Department to gather better data on the number of
child laborers and their injuries.  It has 87 cosponsors and the approval of 80 labor and
human rights organizations.  Neither the American Farm Bureau, comprised of 2800 farm
organizations nor the Republicans have lent any support for this bill
.

However, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis has said in response to the report, “We simply
cannot — and this administration will not – stand by while youngsters working on farms
are robbed of their childhood.”
The Labor Department has added on 250 new field
investigators and plans to add more.

The US Department of Agriculture has spoken up saying, “Farmers and ranchers, most of
whom are law abiding citizens, should not have their efforts to provide a safe and
abundant supply of food and fiber tainted by those taking advantage of the most
vulnerable in our society.”  They are in support of the Roybal-Allard bill.

The EPA has announced that it is working to strengthen the assessment of pesticide
health risks and plans to have new worker protection standards by 2012.

Here’s the irony: Zama Coursen-Neff, deputy director of the Children’s Rights Division at
HRW commented, “The United States spends over $25 million a year – more than all
other countries combined – to eliminate child labor abroad, yet is tolerating exploitative
child labor in its own backyard.”

The majority of child laborers in the US are children of color.  They deserve the same
opportunities for an education as any other children.  These vulnerable children deserve to be safe and
attending school.  Take action and vote for better conditions for child laborers.

Patricia Rain
Follow me
Latest posts by Patricia Rain (see all)

Trackback from your site.

Patricia Rain

is an author, educator, culinary historian, and owner of The Vanilla Company (www.vanillaqueen.com), a socially conscious, product-driven information and education site dedicated to the promotion of pure, natural vanilla, and the support of vanilla farmers worldwide. She also does culinary presentations for food professionals, cooking schools, trade shows, food fairs, and private groups, and is a regular radio and TV guest.

Leave a comment

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

Why do our customers love Rain's Choice vanilla?

  • 99% of all vanilla products are imitation. Ours are 100% PURE!
  • We carefully choose all products to assure best QUALITY & FLAVOR!
  • Our farmers are paid a FAIR PRICE.
  • Our vanilla beans are SUSTAINABLY grown.
  • Everything we sell is grown WITHOUT CHEMICAL pesticides or fertilizers.
  • Your purchase here supports our HUMANITARIAN efforts.

Thank you for supporting The Vanilla Company and our farmers! BUY HERE now.

For an update on the 2016 vanilla shortage, please see "Why is Vanilla so Expensive?"

Newsletter Signup

Join our community, get news on issues of concern about our planet and its inhabitants, recipes and deals. Over 5,000 subscribers!


The Vanilla Company