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Nestlé investigates seafood supply chain in Thailand

08 December 2015 by

Nestlé has been praised by anti-slavery groups for conducting a year-long investigation into alleged forced labour in its Thai seafood supply chain.

The study found nearly all US and European companies buying Thai seafood have the same risks of abuse in their supply chains. Thailand exports £4.6bn worth of seafood products each year.

The study found Thai brokers who lure or buy workers from Myanmar and Cambodia and then trap them with illegal fees.

Evidence of underage workers, lack of rest and minimal food and water was also disclosed in the report. The report quoted one worker who said: "Sometimes, the net is too heavy and workers get pulled into the water and just disappear."

Nestlé, which has the highest revenue of any food company in the world, will post the reports online alongside a detailed year-long solution strategy for 2016 to protect workers.

Nestlé is not a major purchaser of seafood in south-east Asia but does source Thai seafood for its Purina brand Fancy Feast cat food.

Mark Lagon, president of non-profit anti-trafficking organisation Freedom House, said the investigation was "unusual and exemplary" and commended Nestlé for its transparency.

In a written statement, Magdi Batato, Nestlé's executive vice-president in charge of operations, said: "Forced labour and humans rights abuses have no place in our supply chain. Nestlé believes that by working with suppliers we can make a positive difference to the sourcing of ingredients."

In another report, Vérité said: "With the expansion of the fish sector has come an increase in illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) exploitation of wild fish stocks."

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