The Spanish salad producer named in a recent ‘slave labour’ exposé has launched legal action against UK media outlets.
Agroherni hit the headlines last week after being named in a two-part Channel 4 investigation into migrant workers on Spanish farms supplying fresh produce to the UK, and a subsequent Daily Mail article.
The first part of the C4 investigation focused on claims that workers employed by agency Integra Empleo had been underpaid, made to work overtime and exposed to dangerous pesticides on Agroherni farms.
Agroherni has “expressly denied” the pesticides allegations, and claims there is no proof the workers featured in the programme had ever been deployed on its farms. The company also stressed that payment of workers was Integra Empleo’s responsibility. It has now ceased working with the agency.
The allegations sparked an investigation by UK supermarkets, and supplier contracts were suspended pending the outcome of audits. The company said the situation was compounded by the Daily Mail article, which included allegations from the second part of C4’s investigation - focused on the conditions for migrant workers on farms in Almeria.
None of these allegations have any connection with Agroherni, which produces lettuce in Murcia, but the Daily Mail coverage “has been understood by many to falsely connect Agroherni with each of the serious issues,” said a spokeswoman.
She added: “legal complaints have been made against the Daily Mail and C4 in relation to allegations of unhygienic working and living conditions, and lack of sanitation facilities.”
Agroherni said it was working with auditors from suppliers to the main UK supermarkets, who were “satisfied” with the policies and safety measures in place.