(Newswire.net — October 22, 2017) — In a new documentary on modern slavery, Germany’s prominent sweets producer Haribo has been spotlighted as a supporter of modern slavery, Deutsche Welle reports.
The documentary called Markencheck (“brand check”), claims that essential ingredients for the iconic gummy bears, among other Haribo products, were made by workers that live and work in inhuman conditions “which can be called slavery.”
The allegations against the company, which produces over 100 million sweets every day, were made in a documentary called Markencheck (“brand check”). The program – conducted by German public broadcaster ARD – was broadcast this week.
The documentary which aired last week by German public broadcaster ARD, focuses on Carnauba wax, also known as Brazil wax or palm wax that is found on the leaves of plants which only grow in parts of Brazil such as Piaui and Ceara.
Thanks to Brazil wax, gummy bears are glossy and it prevents them from sticking to each other. The substance is gathered by workers without fixed salaries. According to a worker interviewed by the documentary film crew, he can earn just up to 40 Real ($12) a day.
Heavily underpaid and ill-treated, workers are often denied toilet breaks and even fresh water forcing them to drink directly from nearby rivers.
“The workers are treated as objects, worse than animals,” a Brazilian Labor Ministry official said.
He noted that his ministry had received numerous complaints about the terrible working conditions “which can be called slavery.”
Haribo, the company that makes over 100 million pieces of jellies per day, stated that the working conditions of workers shown in the documentary are certainly “unacceptable.”
“We are ready to examine our supply chain beyond our direct suppliers – in other words, beyond the legal framework. If it becomes clear that improvements are urgently required, we will be able to warn you,” a Haribo spokesman said in a statement.
It is up to the country’s authorities to control such things, according Germany’s branch of Amnesty International. “If there are human rights abuses, they have to provide remedy and compensation,” said Lena Rohrbach, economy expert at Amnesty Germany, as cited by DW.
“Unfortunately, the German government has failed to really bind companies to their duty of care,” Rohrbach said.