Good labour conditions on Central American banana plantations have been given the official thumbs-up by indpendent auditors.
Chiquita Brands International's Costa Rican operations were certified to the strict Social Accountability 8000 labour standards.
The SA8000 sets performance standards in areas ranging from child labour and health and safety to working hours and pay.
The division employs more than 2,400 and is claimed to be the first agricultural operation in Central America to gain the certification. Jeff Zalla, corporate responsibility officer, said divisions in Colombia and Panama are also on track to gain the labour recognition.