Bananas

15 Nov

After re-watching the video in class, it is amazing to me how different the bananas we see at the grocery stores, yellow and plump, to the ones that are actually being produced in places such as Costa Rica look. The bright green coloring of the bananas is a whole lot different than what we are used to seeing, and in order to have these bananas ready in time and able to make a profit off of, harsh chemicals are used to make them turn a certain color and to sell to the grocery stores faster.

As seen in the movie, Chiquita uses these workers to their full if not over their potential. These workers are forced to work long hours in back breaking conditions. First, they have to pick the bananas by the tons at tall heights, and then pull them along a long line in the hot sun to the plantation where harsh chemicals, such as ethylene, are stored in huge pools where the workers have to soak the bananas in. When I hear washing I think of soap and water, not chemicals to preserve or what not to fruit. It makes me wonder if the bananas are okay to eat, or if we are consuming harsh chemicals that may later cause some sort of cancer. After they “wash” the bananas, they then have to work at a very fast pace to put the bananas in large boxes for Chiquita and stack many boxes to load them into trucks to export to the United States and other such countries that may need their bananas.  

 So, what we eat and see in the grocery stores, come from a long process of hard work and unsuitable working conditions. I do understand though that big corporations such a Del Monte, Chiquita and Dole employ so many workers so they do need to make as much profit as they can to strive but I also feel like there may be another route to take. I’m sure many people have thought of ideas in which to better the system. Furthermore, the concept to use chemicals to induce the development of the bananas is also understandable in a sense that time is money. These corporations have to export to many different countries and many different places and if they don’t have enough bananas at a certain time their company can lose a lot of money.  I know this is not what we discussed in class but there is two sides to every story and I am just trying to see it both ways.

 Going back to the consumer side, as mentioned in class and as Patel states, this is another example where consumers don’t have a choice on what they eat and how choices are made for us. We eat bananas because they are good but if all consumers knew how they were produced and the working conditions that these people have to go through, some consumers may not be as apt to buying bananas from such companies. Although, for me I can still say that I am going to eat bananas because I like them and they are good for you, minus the little trace of chemicals.

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4 Responses to “Bananas”

  1. djlwsu November 20, 2011 at 6:10 pm #

    Nice work — how does convenience, cost, and what we as consumers expect (because of of what we have always consumed) impact the conditions experienced by workers

  2. nataliecbrown November 28, 2011 at 9:44 pm #

    It’s disturbing to see how bananas are physically dipped in harsh chemicals then shipped to grocery stores throughout the United States, I had no idea! Additionally, the physical work on the farmers is completely unjust and I think by spreading awareness is a great way to seek for change regarding this subject.

  3. Anna December 2, 2011 at 9:53 pm #

    Did you get a chance to look at what kind of environmental impacts the plantations have? What about the health implications for the workers? Do you think being so disconnected from the production is what makes you somewhat indifferent about consuming them?

  4. Sean Haschak December 9, 2011 at 6:31 pm #

    It is obvious that the majority of those who purchase bananas from the store either do not know or do not care about the production conditions that are behind getting these bananas ready to be sold in stores. If awareness was raised about wages, working conditions, etc., do you think that would effect the sales of bananas in stores or would they still be purchased at the same rate and seen as a necessity? Is there anything that can be done by the consumers to help try to resolve this problem? Very good post, I also think this ties in very closely with the bootlegged video we watched in class of bananas being produced.

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