The Pom Wonderful brand uses toxic oil wastewater to grow its pomegranates.
California’s Central Valley grows and exports much of the produce consumed in the U.S. and around the world. As much as 98% of the country’s almonds, 83% of its carrots and much of the citrus come from these “pastures of plenty.” The Central Valley is also home to most of the oil drilling in the nation’s third largest oil-producing state. So, oil producers like Chevron and some of the nation’s biggest agricultural brands have struck an unappetizing deal; Chevron sells wastewater laced with toxic chemicals to local water districts, which sell it to agribusiness to irrigate the crops that feed the world.
Even more shocking, there are virtually no guidelines or regulations for testing the water, which is run through walnut husks and mixed with fresh water to become “produced water.” However, an independent review shows that some toxic chemicals that could be present in the water are linked to cancer and reproductive harm, such as ethylbenzene and toluene, potentially exposing those eating the produce and working in the fields.
The Cawelo and North Kern water districts sell this water is being to companies like the Wonderful brand that produces Halos mandarins and Pom Wonderful pomegranate juice, among others. The Wonderful Company is owned by billionaires Stewart and Lynda Resnick, whose businesses are notorious for controlling more California water than the cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco combined.
What you can do
Food & Water Watch, along with seven other organizations, is asking consumers to sign a pledge not to buy Halos mandarins or Pom Wonderful juice until these brands stop taking oil wastewater to irrigate their crops. We are also calling on Governor Jerry Brown to order the Cawelo and North Kern water districts to stop taking and reselling Chevron’s toxic wastewater.
Once you’ve signed the pledge, you can work with others in your community to ask local school districts to pledge not to serve these brands in school lunches and ask local restaurants and grocers to take the pledge.
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