Nestle Investigation Results: Yep, Your Cat’s Food May Have Been Caught By Slaves

In a series of recent lawsuits, consumers have taken issue with the treatment of workers on fishing boats from Thailand that work far out to sea. The issue got consumers’ attention after reports from non-governmental organizations and a New York Times investigative series this summer, and companies that buy and sell fish conducted their own investigations. Nestle has now concluded theirs, and admits that yep, there were vendors who severely mistreated along their supply chain.

Nestle hired a third party, the nonprofit Verite, to investigate the claims that workers in their supply chain––who catch the fish used in Fancy Feast cat food––were hired and kept in similar conditions. Verite confirmed that they were.

Seafood companies out of Thailand recruit workers from neighboring countries, then hold them in conditions that are effectively slavery. Job brokers find them work, then charge fees that the men are unable to repay. Instead, they stay on the boats for years on end. You can read about this horror in plenty of detail in reporting by the Associated Press and the New York Times. Thousands of the captive fishermen have since been freed, and companies now want to make sure that their supply chains are free of mistreated workers.

Nestle has promised to make the reports public, but says that the reports demonstrate that it’s difficult for multinationals sourcing seafood from Asia to avoid the offending boats, or avoid buying from seafood farms that use fish caught using slave labor to feed their fish in turn.

Nestle confirms labor abuse among its Thai seafood suppliers [AP]