Official court documents have unveiled that two of the largest food companies in Italy have been implicated in labour abuses of migrant workers according to The Guardian.
The companies Mutti and Conserve Italia brand Cirio have been named by Italian prosecutor Paola Guglielmi as benefiting from “conditions of absolute exploitation.”
The premium tinned tomatoes and passata from the companies in question are supplied to major U.K. supermarkets and purchased by thousands of British and European consumers weekly.
An investigation started due to the occurrence of a death of a seasonal labourer.
Horrific death of seasonal labourer
47-year-old Abdullah Muhammed, a legal Sudanese immigrant suffered a heart-attack while working in the field of Nardó.
He worked as a tomato picker and his working daily began at 4am and drew to a close at 5pm, like thousands of workers.
It is believed that if he was allowed to go to hospital his life would have been saved.
The court document listed abuses including a 12-hour working day, seven days a week, without breaks, with minimal pay and no access to medical staff.
In the Puglia region, workers earn an average of €30/daily, but 50% of their income has to go towards paying for food, transport water and a cut to their gangmaster.
The Guardian revealed that the gangmaster or caporalato system is very common across the Italian agricultural sector where migrants-both legal and illegal are organised into informal labour groups that are hired by Italian landowners to harvest their crops.
The file accuses Italian company owner Giuseppe Mariano and Sudanese gangmaster Mohammed Elsalish of manslaughter, Irish Guardian reported.
The preliminary investigation has now drawn to a close.
A judge will now decide whether or not the case should go to trial.