Dole Food Co. Inc. has settled a lawsuit claiming the company misrepresented its claims of being environmentally responsible.
Westlake Village, Calif.-based Dole denies allegations made against it and its Guatemalan banana grower but resolved the case because it believes a new water filter project will assist local communities in Guatemala, according to a company news release.
Clayton Laderer, a California resident, brought a class action lawsuit against Dole in 2012 in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The lawsuit states that while Dole claims it farms bananas in Guatemala in an “ecologically friendly and otherwise sustainable manner,” it doesn’t.
“Dole misrepresents this reality in its marketing materials and fails to disclose that production methods expropriate and contaminate water supplies, destroy wetlands, cause flooding, destroy the crops of local communities, and cause illnesses in children,” according to the complaint.
As part of the settlement, Dole, in coordination with social programs already undertaken by Dole’s independent grower in Guatemala and the nonprofit organization Water and Sanitation Health, Inc., will conduct a water filter project to assist local communities in Guatemala, according to the release.
“Dole is proud to contribute to these efforts to assist local communities in Guatemala,” Jonathan Bass, Dole Latin America’s president, said in the release. “Our grower, who is fully certified by numerous independent certifying agencies, is already a longstanding champion for the local communities and has made significant charitable contributions to enhance social welfare, health and well-being.”