Shaun Zinck Apr. 27, 2015, 11:35am


A California woman is suing a popular banana producer alleging, among other things, that its process for growing the fruit poisons local residents.

Tania Campbell filed the lawsuit on April 17 in U.S. District Court Central District of California against Chiquita Brands International, Inc. claiming the producer doesn't follow its own strict standards for growing bananas in other countries.

The strict standards include conserving wildlife habitats, promoting community well being and protecting national resources. However, the lawsuit alleges in some impoverished areas of Guatemala, where Chiquita grows some of its bananas, the process destroys natural ecosystems and contaminates local communities' drinking water.

“Chiquita fails to disclose in its marketing materials and at the point of sale that its production methods contaminate water supplies, destroy the crops of local communities, and cause illnesses in children,” the lawsuit said.

Campbell said Chiquita has a responsibility to disclose that information to consumers prior to them deciding to purchase the bananas, and she claims most customers wouldn't have bought the fruit had they had that information.

The lawsuit seeks class-action status. Campbell said damages will exceed $5 million plus court costs. She is represented by Elaine T. Byszewski of Hagens Berman Sobal Shapiro, LLP in Pasadena, California, and Steve W. Berman and Tyler S. Weaver of the same law firm in Seattle, Washington.

United States District Court Central District of California case No. 2:15-cv-02860.

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