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Dole Food Accused of Misleading Consumers Over Plantation

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Nov. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Dole Food Co., the world’s largest producer of fresh fruit and vegetables, was accused of misleading consumers about the environmental practices on a contractor’s banana plantation in Guatemala.

“Dole markets and sells its bananas as though they were farmed in an ecologically friendly and otherwise sustainable manner,” Clayton Laderer, a California resident, said in a complaint filed Nov. 13 in federal court in Los Angeles.

“In fact, some of Dole’s bananas, including bananas grown in impoverished areas of Guatemala, are produced in a way that destroys natural ecosystems, contaminates the drinking water of affected communities, and poisons local residents.”

Laderer said he wouldn’t have bought Dole’s bananas had the company disclosed the alleged environmental harm caused by the Guatemala plantation. He seeks to represent other Dole banana buyers in a class-action lawsuit.

Marty Ordman, a spokesman for Westlake Village, California-based Dole, didn’t immediately return a call for comment on the allegations.

The case is Laderer v. Dole Food, 12-9715, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles).

To contact the reporter on this story: Edvard Pettersson in Los Angeles at epettersson@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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