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Border & Immigration

San Diego Lawmaker Crusades Against 'Blood Tomatoes'


“Stop Blood Tomatoes” is the dramatic name of a bill introduced Friday by Rep. Juan Vargas, D-San Diego.

It aims to eliminate child and forced labor at farms that supply U.S. retailers.

Many of those suppliers are in Mexico. They have come under scrutiny in recent months amid a large farmworker strike in the Baja California town of San Quintin, which ships tomatoes, berries and cucumbers north of the border.

The bill would require U.S. companies to get independent audits of these farms.

Vargas said the legislation was inspired by a recent series in the Los Angeles Times examining claims of human rights abuses at the suppliers.

"You can’t read that and not want to act," Vargas told the Times. "This is wrong. You have to change it. Nobody wants to eat blood tomatoes."

Earlier this week, the Mexican government signed an agreement promising the farmworkers improvements in working conditions, including an end to child labor.