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In Mexico's fields, children toil to harvest crops that make it to American tables

In Mexico s fields children toil to harvest crops that make it to American tables Los Angeles Times


Child labor is common in the fields of southern Sinaloa, where Alejandrina worked the last three winters.

The Times watched her and dozens of other children harvest chile peppers at a mid-size farm in Teacapan, south of the resort city of Mazatlan, in December 2013.

The grower, Sergio Constantinos, said in an interview that he supplies chile peppers to La Costeña, one of Mexico's biggest salsa makers and a major exporter to the U.S. Constantinos said he also supplies several American brokers, including E.H. Maldonado & Co. in Nogales, Ariz.

Owner Emilio Maldonado said he sells Constantinos' chile peppers to repackers, who put them in 10-pound boxes and sell them to supermarket and restaurant chains across the country.

Constantinos initially denied that children picked on his farm.

When told that a Times reporter had seen children in his fields, he admitted that state inspectors had fined him $30,000 the year before for using child labor.

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I wish there was some kind of certification that the food was not harvested by children.

Now I'm going to be paranoid about the origins of all of my produce. Sheesh.

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