Gangmastering Passata: Multi-Territoriality of the Food System and the Legal Construction of Cheap Labour Behind the Globalized Italian Tomato
18 Pages Posted: 5 Mar 2020
Date Written: February 02, 2020
Italy is the second producer of tomatoes in the world after the United States, and it is often considered the homeland of this food. Yet, the Italian tomato is much more than Italian. If one considers the people, geography, regulations and history behind the ‘golden pome’ (pomo-d’oro in Italian), there is no other conclusion that it is inherently local and global. In the last years, the Italian tomato Italian sector has been under scrutiny for the reliance on exploited labour, egregious living conditions and the role of organized crime in trading human beings as any other commodity (gangmastering, or ‘caporalato’). By embedding the Italian industrial tomato into a critical and multi-territorial legal approach to the food system, my contribution aims to offer a different perspective on the illegal action of labour intermediation as one of the most discussed issues surrounding the production of Italian tomatoes. Rather than presenting exploitation and caporalato as exceptions, the paper analyses them through the lenses of trade law, competition law and migration law as more appropriate lenses to understand the role of cheap labour in the construction of the global Italian tomato. If that is the case, legal interventions cannot be local and specific, but must be systemic, multi-layered and, therefore, based on dialogue and solidarity among workers, lawyers, activists and academics across the whole tomato chain.
Keywords: caporalato, food system, italy, labor, gangmastering, food chains
JEL Classification: K30, K31, K37
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation