Nestle sued in US for Thai supplier's use of slave labour

Nestle sued in US for Thai supplier's use of slave labour

LOS ANGELES — Nestle SA was sued over claims that its Fancy Feast cat food contains fish from a Thai supplier that uses slave labour.

The complaint against the Swiss food giant follows one last week accusing Costco Wholesale Corp of selling farmed shrimp from Thailand, where slave labour and human trafficking in the fishing industry are allegedly widespread.

The four consumers who filed the Nestle case in Los Angeles federal court seek to represent all California buyers of Fancy Feast who wouldn't have bought the product had they known that the fish was allegedly harvested using forced labour.

"By hiding this from public view, Nestle has effectively tricked millions of consumers into supporting and encouraging slave labour on floating prisons," Steve Berman, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said in a statement.

"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."

Keith Schopp, a US spokesman for Nestle Purina PetCare, didn't immediately respond after regular business hours to phone and e-mail messages seeking comment on the lawsuit.

The slavery lawsuits follow the publication last month of the US State Department's annual report examining human trafficking in 188 countries, in which the agency cited concerns about slave labour in Thailand's fishing industry and faulted the Thai government's record in fighting exploitation.

Nestle's Thai supplier gets its fish from trawlers whose crews are often men and boys who have been trafficked from Myanmar and Cambodia, according to Thursday's complaint. They are sold as slaves by brokers and smugglers to fishing captains in Thai ports and frequently resold out at sea, the consumers said.

In 2001, Nestle and other top chocolate makers and cocoa processors agreed to a plan to investigate and end child slave-labour practices on farms in West Africa that supplied them with cocoa. The industry collaboration followed media reports that boys as young as 11 were sold or tricked into slavery to harvest cocoa beans on some of the Ivory Coast's 600,000 farms.

By 2010, following eight years of civil war in the Ivory Coast, the government moved to curb exploitation in the cocoa industry by prosecuting traffickers of children.

When a study commissioned by Vevey, Switzerland-based Nestle found numerous violations of its internal work rules in 2012 and urged more attention to combating child labour in the Ivory Coast cocoa industry, Nestle's head of operations said the use of child labour "goes against everything we stand for." The company said the complexity of the problem meant it would take years to solve.

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เนื้อหาข่าวที่รวบรวมในเว็บไซต์นี้ เป็นการรวบรวมเพื่อการศึกษาวิจัยเท่านั้น อันเป็นประโยชน์ต่อสาธารณะ มิได้นำไปเพื่อการค้าแต่อย่างใด

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