Photo courtesy of ARD film, Markencheck
Haribo, a German confectionary company known for its gummy candy, has found itself in a sticky situation after a documentary claims that the workers and animals used to make the candy were kept in appalling conditions.
According to Deutsche Welle, or DW, German broadcaster ARD aired the film Markencheck, or "brand check," to identify the health and production problems revolving around the company's gummy candies that are sold worldwide. The documentary claims that the two ingredients causing the workers and pigs to suffer in such shocking conditions are carnauba wax and gelatin.
Caranauba wax, an ingredient that comes from carnauba palm trees, is applied to the gummies to prevent sticking and to keep them glossy. The carnauba palm trees grow only in the poorest regions of the northeastern states of Brazil including Piaui, Ceara, Maranhao, Bahia, and Rio Grande do Norte. The documentary claims that Haribo sourced their carnauba wax from plantations where workers earn about $12 a day. These workers, some of whom are underage, are also allegedly forced to sleep outside or in their trucks, made to drink unfiltered water from nearby rivers, and not given access to toilets. Brazilian police would allegedly have to carry out raids to free the workers from the horrible working conditions on the plantations.
In that same documentary, footage of the disgusting living conditions of the pigs that provide gelatin for Gelita, Haribo's main gelatin supplier, was aired. Numerous pigs are shown living in their own filth, covered with stool and urine, and suffering from open sores and infections. Veterinarians interviewed in the film claim that these living conditions clearly go against Germany's animal protection laws.
In response to the film, Haribo made an official statement saying that they were not aware of of the violations to their guidelines and that they would proactively work with their suppliers to pursue the issue.
In an article by Metro.co.uk, a spokesperson from Haribo told them, "We are aware of the serious allegations that have been made and an urgent investigation is underway to help us establish the facts. Our production processes are of the utmost importance and we ask all suppliers to adhere to the strictest social and ethical standards. We have always believed such standards to be indivisible and non-negotiable."