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Nestle Suspends Salvadoran Coffee Purchases

December 12, 1989

NEW YORK (AP) _ Nestle Foods Corp. said Monday it has agreed to suspend purchases of coffee from war-torn El Salvador for 30 days.

In a letter to a peace group that is calling for a boycott of Salvadoran coffee, Nestle said it ″disapproves of the violence in El Salvador because it is a violation of human rights.″

On Friday, Hill Bros. Coffee said it had suspended for 30 days any new deals to buy coffee from the Central American country, citing ″deep concern″ about fighting there in recent weeks.

Nestle public relations director Barbara Campbell said in the letter, released by the San Francisco-based peace organization Neighbor to Neighbor, that it currently does not have any Salvadoran coffee in its inventory.

Nestle, which makes Nescafe and Tasters Choice instant coffees, met with a Neighbor to Neighbor representative Friday.

Nestle officials could not be reached for comment late Monday at their Purchase headquarters. A Neighbor to Neighbor spokesman said Nestle buys 3 percent to 5 percent of its coffee from El Salvador.

Procter & Gamble Co. last week refused to join the boycott, which is part of an effort to pressure the Salvadoran government to negotiate a settlement to the country’s civil war.

Coffee is a $200 million cash crop in El Salvador and accounts for about 5 percent of the coffee consumed in the United States.

More than 70,000 lives have been lost in violence in El Salvador during the past decade. Six Jesuit priests were murdered there about a month ago.

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