German candymaker Haribo will launch an audit of its associated companies following allegations of using slave labor and sourcing its ingredients from producers with cruel animal conditions.
The company, mostly known for its gummy candy products sold worldwide, has come under fire after a documentary aired in Germany accusing the candymaker of using products made in unbearable conditions for animals and humans, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
According to the documentary, the company purchased carnauba wax from a Brazilian company that produced the ingredient under slave labor conditions, including no bathroom aces, no drinking water, and horrible living conditions for its workers. Workers at the company reportedly made $12 a day for harvesting palm leaves.
Workers were forced to labor for a month before being allowed to return home, prompting the Brazilian ministry of labor denounce the company and say the employees were treated “worse than animal” and the conditions “could be described as slavery," according to German broadcaster Deutsche Welle.
As well as being accused of using companies that produced ingredients using slave labor, Haribo also reportedly sourced its gelatin from producers with cruel animal conditions, the Chronicle reported.
The documentary alleges that the candymaker outsourced gelatin production to a producer that used a farm where pigs had open wounds and pens covered in feces – or even dead pigs.
Haribo promised to launch an investigation into its practices following the documentary, telling Vice’s food site Munchies that “the conditions on the pig farms and the Brazilian plantations shown are insupportable."
"Should it transpire that urgent improvements are needed in this area, we will insist on their implementation and will not rest until these improvements have been implemented," a representative of Haribo told the outlet.