The Daily Mail published an article on how processing cashew nuts in India leaves some women with horrendous acid burns from shelling cashew nuts. The reality for women that work in some factories in India is shocking and the pictures in the article say it all. But there is another way.
Liberation’s sourcing model
Liberation Foods buys cashews nuts under Fairtrade conditions. This means workers are paid a fair price and are treated properly. We are proud to have entirely sustainable and traceable supply chains.
Protecting the workers
Factory workers in our supply chain are given castor oil to protect them from acid burns. The caustic acids can’t penetrate the oil – it acts as a barrier so the skin remains unharmed. Workers also have the option to use gloves, but because they are cumbersome most choose not to use them.
Castor oil is a natural vegetable oil made from the castor plant. It is also often used in natural beauty products.
India is broken into states which have different policies on issues such as minimum wage. Liberation sources cashews from Kerala and all workers are paid at least the minimum wage for their labour. Usually it’s a little above the minimum wage.
Our Technical Manager, Dan Binks, regularly visits all our origins to make sure the farms, factories and warehouses meet our health and safety standards. And Kerala is no exception – Dan has no cause for concern for any of our factory workers.
Where to buy sustainably sourced cashews
Liberation Foods supplies natural Fairtrade cashew nuts to both Tesco and Sainsbury’s. In addition, Waitrose and Traidcraft stock Liberation branded nuts. The Fair Trade Alliance Kerala (FTAK) – a cooperative with over 2,000 members supplies the majority of our nuts. The organisation promotes environmentally friendly and fair working conditions for farmers and factory workers.
Consumers can be confident that workers won’t have suffered from burns of bad conditions if they choose cashew nuts with a Fairtrade mark from either supermarket. Although prices are higher which reflect fair working practices.