A photograph of a shelf of tinned pineapple products from Del Monte at Morrisons
27.06.24 Environment

Morrisons drop pineapple supplier over violence at Del Monte farm

The supermarket joined Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose in refusing to stock products from the Kenyan farm

Morrisons is dropping Del Monte Kenya as a supplier of pineapple products until the company better protects human rights, the UK supermarket said today.

A Morrisons spokesperson told the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ): “We are moving tinned pineapple sourcing out of Kenya until Del Monte’s human rights improvement plan has been fully implemented.”

Last week, TBIJ confirmed that Morrisons and Iceland were still stocking pineapple products from Del Monte’s vast plantation in Thika, Kenya. It came a year after TBIJ and the Guardian first revealed numerous allegations of brutal beatings and killings at the hands of Del Monte’s security guards, and amid a fresh wave of violence.

The 80 sq km farm sits on the border of Murang’a and Kiambu counties, about 40 km northeast of Nairobi. Unemployment in the surrounding area is rife and many young men resort to stealing pineapples from the farm, prompting conflict with the farm’s guards.

At the end of May, a series of violent clashes broke out between police and pineapple thieves, with local bystanders hit by stray bullets.

Earlier this month, Morrisons said it was urgently investigating the allegations: “We have been regularly monitoring the implementation of the human rights impact assessment action plan and the comprehensive remediation plan with Del Monte.”

When TBIJ and the Guardian first investigated in 2023, Del Monte said that it took the allegations “extremely seriously” and that it had “instituted a full and urgent investigation into them”. It commissioned a third-party auditor, Partner Africa, to assess human rights at the farm. Its report, submitted to Del Monte in November, concluded that the farm was causing major human rights abuses to the surrounding community and Del Monte workers.

A summary was sent to supermarkets in December, including recommendations to overhaul security and human resources at the farm. In March, the company fired the majority of its guards and brought in G4S to manage security on the farm.

Several supermarkets – Tesco, Asda and Waitrose – had already stopped stocking pineapple products from the farm last year. Earlier this month, Sainsbury’s told TBIJ it was no longer supplied by Del Monte Kenya.

Note: this story was updated on June 28 2024 to reflect that Iceland has also dropped Del Monte Kenya as a supplier. It was further updated on July 9 2024 after Iceland clarified it continued to stock Del Monte Kenya products, despite initially saying otherwise.

Header image: Morrisons stocking Kenyan tinned pineapples earlier this month. Credit: Emily Goddard for TBIJ

Reporter: Grace Murray
Environment editor: Robert Soutar
Deputy editors
: Katie Mark and Chrissie Giles
Editor: Franz Wild
Production editor: Frankie Goodway

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