British food retailer cuts ties with suppliers of West Bank produce

(JTA) — The United Kingdom’s fifth largest food retailer has ended trade with suppliers who export produce grown in West Bank settlements.

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The British Co-operative Group is the first major European supermarket group to cut ties “with any supplier of produce known to be sourcing from the Israeli settlements,” the British newspaper The Guardian reported Sunday.

The decision immediately affects four companies and contracts worth about $566,000.  The suppliers are: Agrexco, Arava Export Growers, Adafresh and Mehadrin, Israel’s largest agricultural export company.

The Co-op told The Guardian that it will transfer its contracts to other companies inside Israel that can guarantee they don’t export produce from West Bank settlements.
The move is an extension of the company’s policy not to sell produce grown in West Bank settlements.

The company said it would also work to increase trade links with Palestinian companies in the West Bank, according to the French news agency AFP.

Meanwhile, Britain’s Parliament’s House of Commons voted last week to block a bill that would require any meat ritually killed according to Jewish or Islamic law to be labeled “‘killed without stunning.”

The Food Labeling (Halal and Kosher Meat) Bill was defeated by a vote of 73 to 70.

Conservative lawmaker Philip Davies, who authored the bill, said he thought UK consumers should be fully informed and make their own choices about the meat they buy.
Davies reportedly said that saying that an estimated 70 percent of kosher meat was not consumed by the Jewish community, and that 25 percent of all meat sold was slaughtered according to Islamic law.

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