Two prominent retail outlets in the United Kingdom have taken a critical stand against Del Monte, citing persistent human rights violations at the company’s Thika-based farm.
As reported by The Guardian, Tesco decided to halt the supply of Del Monte’s Kenyan pineapples last summer, while Waitrose ceased the sale of the company’s products in September.
According to the UK-based publication, British supermarkets that have been recipients of the farm’s produce were provided with a summary of a report conducted by the social auditor Partner Africa last month.
With a market share of 27.5 percent at the end of 2022, Tesco stands as one of the largest retailers in Great Britain. The move by these retail giants underscores their commitment to ethical sourcing practices and human rights considerations.
Last year, Kenyan police initiated an investigation into the suspected killings of four individuals on a Del Monte pineapple farm. Reports suggested that security guards on the expansive estate had engaged in lethal force against villagers trespassing on the property.
Friends and relatives of the victims urged the government to intervene and clarify the circumstances surrounding the victims’ presence in a river.
A joint investigation by Britain’s Bureau of Investigative Journalism and The Guardian earlier this year revealed evidence implicating Del Monte’s security guards in the killing and brutal assault of villagers suspected of trespassing on the Kenyan pineapple farm.
In response to the allegations, Del Monte asserted that it had launched internal investigations, supported by an independent review conducted by a specialist human rights consultancy.
However, concerns persist as three of the four men discovered dead in a river near the Murang’a farm are believed to have drowned. Postmortem examinations conducted at the end of last year revealed visible injuries on their heads and necks.
Preliminary investigations by the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights indicated that the four men were attacked before being forced into the river, where they drowned in an attempt to escape.
The vast plantation, estimated to cover at least 40 square kilometers in the Murang’a region, incorporates public roads and employs 237 security guards directly.