Haribo is a huge name when it comes to gummy candies. They make everything from gummy bears to happy cola gummy bottles.
Could there be something dark about these gummies? A quite interesting and slightly frightening investigation report that aired last Monday seems to think so. This company is believed to be unknowingly dependent on modern-day slavery. Slave labor, as you may know, is a huge issue in many countries.
The documentary/investigation report details much of the lives of these workers in some of the poorest states of northeastern Brazil. This location is important as it is where you can find most of the world’s carnauba wax trees. This wax is extremely important in the Haribo products.
This is the same kind of material you would find in things like shoe polish or car oil, it gives the gummy bears their glossy finish while keeping them from forming into large clumps. The industry for this wax underpays workers and overworks them. Many of these Brazilian workers are also minors. It seems they make roughly 12 USD a day and do not even have access to drinking water except for unfiltered streams.
Workers were according to German broadcaster Deutsche Welle forced to labor for a month before being allowed to return home. The Brazilian ministry of labor even denounced the company, and said that the employees were treated worse than animals and in conditions that could be described as slavery. Could you imagine?
Generally, these workers are not given access to toilets and have to use long hooked blades in order to get the leaves needed from the very tall trees. Some even sleep outside. While all of this is terrible there is more.
The company Haribo sources its gelatin from GELITA. This company farms within the northern part of Germany and uses pigs to obtain their gelatin. These pigs, however, are shown in the documentary roaming around in their pens covered with open sores and cakes in their own feces. Some are even being forced to live with the rotting corpses of other pigs.
Because of this documentary, it seems Haribo has begun an investigation. According to MUNCHIES, they claim to be working on an auditing of their suppliers. Haribo representatives say that they will be transparent each step of the way in regards to this.
“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.”
This 45-minute documentary is something you need to see. Check it out in the video below. Modern slavery is a very real, and a very serious issue as is industrial farming. Something needs to be done!