3 February 2013

Morocco: Swedish Food Chains Unite in Avoiding Occupied Western Sahara's Goods

Stockholm — Four major Swedish food chains signed on 22 Jan 2013 a letter of intent with the Swedish Western Sahara support network VästsaharaAktionen, outlining their stance vis-à-vis produce imports from Western Sahara.

The four food chains are Axfood, Coop, ICA and Bergendahls/City Gross.

They declared that they no longer wish to import or sell products from occupied Western Sahara, falsely labelled as Moroccan, expressing concern about the risks of violating international law through buying and selling such goods and find the unclear declaration of origins on e.g. tomatoes and fish products from Morocco problematic.

"We find it inconsistent with our ethical commitments to buy and resell raw materials and products from occupied Western Sahara. This position is in accordance with international law, and we wish to make our stance clear to our consumers, retailers, buyers and other intermediaries in our supply chain," underlined the Swedish chains, in a joint statement.

A formal indication of origin, such as "produced in Western Sahara", that would positively identify the unwanted goods, is still lacking today. This puts additional demands onto us to pay due attention to identify and avoid products coming from Western Sahara all throughout the supply chain, indicated the statement.

The 4 food chains expressed commitment to provide "a basis for constructive cooperation to limit and prevent trafficking of Saharawi goods in violation of international law"

"The initiative will be well received by the Saharawi people, who own the resources of the land, but do not benefit from this trade." says Lindh, from Swedish Association of Solidarity with Western Sahara.

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