Recent Documentary Reveals Gummy Candies Might Be Made With Slave Labor

Haribo is conducting an internal investigation due to the findings

haribo slave labor
The german candy company is under fire after a recent documentary revealed a link to slave labor practices in Brazil where they source their ingredients.Paul Heaberlin

According to a documentary aired by a Germany broadcasting company last week, beloved Haribo gummy bears could be manufactured using modern day slave labor, Munchies reports.

Although the allegations claim that Haribo was unaware of the slave labor practices, the documentary sheds light on the supply chain the company uses, claiming poor treatment of humans and the animals used to source ingredients.

The 45-minute-documentary is titled Markencheck (translating to "brand check" in English). The video delves into the lives of men and women in the poorest areas in Brazil who work for the carnauba wax industry. According to Munchies, carnauba wax gives Haribo gummies their shiny coating and texture. The industry relies on overworked employees who are underpaid (earning about 40 real, or $12 per day).

The conditions shown in the video are disturbing: people sleep outside, often having little to access to public toilets. Workers are forced to stay for a month without being able to go home and see their families, given no access to streams or filtered water, all while they’re working to pull down wax from trees with long, sharp blades.

In another section of the documentary, investigators snuck into a pig farm that Haribo uses to source gelatin in their gummy bears, NY Daily News reports. The pigs are seen squeezed into pens with swollen eyes and open sores, covered in their own feces, with no access to water, and rotting next to other pigs' corpses.

According to a Fortune report Haribo announced their plans for a U.S. production facility in March, that is scheduled to be completed in Wisconsin by 2020.

"We are investigating with our first-level-suppliers the precise nature of the conditions in the plantations and farms that supply them," a Haribo spokesperson told Reuters. "Furthermore, we are currently working on a prompt auditing of our suppliers."