Cheap fruits and vegetables in Germany's supermarkets often come from southern Europe. But cheap produce can come at high price. Some plantations in Italy and Spain are dominated by exploitation and slavery. Politicians turn a blind eye.
Tomatoes, cucumbers, oranges - supermarket shelves are always lined with the freshest low-price produce. Last year, they turned over a record-breaking profit of 14.7 billion euros. Spain is the top exporter to Germany. But even bargains come at a cost. The working conditions at some of the plantations in southern Spain and Italy are downright inhumane. People in need - lately more and more or them refugees - are being forced into modern-day slavery. In Italy, the mafia is also profiting. Authorities are failing, while politicians turn a blind eye. The EU is even supporting the system of exploitation with subsidies worth millions of euros. But consumers’ bargain-basement mentality, as well as the market strategies of large supermarket chains are also part of the problem.