by Isabel Hunter and Lorenzo Di PIetro
The British food company Princes has become the latest firm linked with an investigation into labour abuses involving migrant workers who pick tomatoes in southern Italy for the plates of British and European consumers.
Princes Industrie Alimentari, owned by Princes, buys tomatoes from De Rubertis, a supplier whose workers were described last October by Italian prosecutor Paola Guglielmi as labouring under “conditions of absolute exploitation”.
The comments were made in the course of an investigation into the death of a seasonal labourer, Abdullah Muhammed. The 47-year-old legal Sudanese immigrant suffered a heart attack while working in the fields of Nardó, in southern Italy, in July 2015. The allegation against De Rubertis was that Muhammed’s life could have been saved if he had been allowed to go to hospital.