"Forced labour has no place in our supply chain," the company told AFP in an email.
On Thursday, pet food buyers filed a class action lawsuit in US federal court in Los Angeles seeking to represent all California consumers of Fancy Feast. They claimed they would not have purchased the product had they known it had ties to slave labour.
The lawsuit said that Nestle works with Thai Union Frozen Products Plc to import more than 28 million pounds (13 million kilogrammes) of seafood-based pet food for top brands sold in the United States, and it alleged that some of the ingredients in those products came from slave labour.
Men and boys, often trafficked from Myanmar and Cambodia, are sold to fishing boat captains who need crews aboard their ship, the complaint said, alleging that many were working 20-hour shifts with little or no pay and facing beatings or even death if the work is deemed unsatisfactory.
The Swiss food giant countered that it required "all of our suppliers to respect human rights and to comply with all applicable labour laws".
The company acknowledged, however, that enforcing its strict code of conduct throughout the complex, multi-layered supply-chain in the Thai seafood industry that supplies some ingredients for its products was a challenge.
See original story here.