Report Alleges Modern Slave Labor Used In The Production Of Haribo Gummies
Haribo, widely known for their popular gummy bears, could allegedly be using slave labor in the production of their products.
German Broadcaster ARD aired an investigative report on the candy manufacturer’s possible dependence on slave labor. The report revealed that two different companies that Haribo use to obtain their ingredients have their employees living in conditions that are considered detrimental to their health.
According to Vice, a 45-minute portion of the documentary detailed living conditions for workers in northeastern Brazil. This area is home to carnauba wax trees which have an ingredient used in the candy that Haribo manufactures. The carnauba wax needed to make their candy shine also gives the gummy candy their shape and keeps each individual piece from congealing into one big gelatinous blob. This good is used in car oil, shoe polish, and lip balm.
This particular industry (carnauba wax extraction) has its share of problems pertaining to extremely poor working conditions for their employees, some of whom are underage workers. First, they overwork their employees with very little pay by exploiting the poorest states of northeastern Brazil. The workers, who spend substantial hours climbing trees using “long, hooked blades,” earn an estimated 40 real, around 12 USD, daily. They also sleep in trucks or just outside when they have to rest. Their access to the bathroom is limited by their employers as well. The other serious concern is workers having no access to filtered water, resorting to drinking unfiltered water from the streams nearby.
Another controversy stemming from the report is the treatment of animals on industrial farms used in the production of gelatin through company GELITA from which Haribo sources its gelatin. There was footage of pigs covered in their own excrement and sores that were not looked at. There was even footage of these animals roaming around the corpses of other pigs who had been left behind.
The report forced Haribo to immediately respond to the claims. They stated that they could be launching an investigation within their company to dismiss any illicit activity. A Haribo spokesperson told Vice that they were deeply “concerned” with the images used in the report and condemned the practices condoned in them.
Haribo will be investigating suppliers and farms that they currently are getting their products from. They have insisted that they will be transparent as they investigate the conditions of their suppliers.
[Featured Image by Paul Ellis/Getty Images]