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Nestle Purina headquarters. (Photo Credit: Patrik Banas)

Nestle accused of using slave-caught fish

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Friday, August 28, 2015, 23:50 (GMT + 9)

Swiss food giant Nestle is being sued in the United States for allegedly purchasing fish from a Thai supplier suspected of being involved in slave labour.

Sources consulted by FIS.com informed that the class action lawsuit was filed in a US federal court in Los Angeles by a group of pet food buyers on behalf of consumers of Fancy Feast cat food, which the complaints consider contains Thai fish caught by crew working under slave conditions.

The lawsuit alleges that Nestle works with a Thai partner, Thai Union Frozen Products PCL (TUF), to import more than 28 million pounds of seafood-based pet food for top brands sold in America and that some of the imported cat food’s ingredients are obtained through slave labor on fishing vessels, CBS reported.

Referring to the court case, Steve Berman, managing partner of the Hagens Berman law firm in charge of the litigation, pointed out: "It's a fact that the thousands of purchasers of its top-selling pet food products would not have bought this brand had they known the truth -- that hundreds of individuals are enslaved, beaten or even murdered in the production of its pet food."

"By hiding this from public view, Nestle has effectively tricked millions of consumers into supporting and encouraging slave labor on floating prisons," Berman added.

According to the complaint while Nestle lists protection of human rights as one of its Corporate Business Principles, it “has failed to uphold its responsibility to ensure the absence of slave labor in its supply chains -- and even worse, Nestle not only supported these human rights violations, but forced consumers to unknowingly do the same."

In its defense, the Swiss firm ensured that forced labour had not been used in its Nestlé Purina supply chain. 

“We require all of our suppliers to respect human rights and prohibit forced labour. The elimination of forced labour in Southeast Asia is a shared responsibility, and we are committed to being part of the solution,” Nestlé stated.

However, in the complaint Berman stressed that Nestlé had the resources to combat this and accused the firm of choosing to support “these egregious human rights violations.”
 

Related articles:

- British newspaper reveals more slavery cases in seafood sector
- Seven crew members arrested due to alleged slavery practices
- Another investigation reveals slave labour in seafood industry


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