They are simple gummy candies: those in the shape of teddy bears, or with strips of licorice or in the shape of strawberry marshmallows: but, according to the German TV channel Ard, which broadcast the documentary ” The Haribo Check “, behind the well-known candy company and sweets Haribo would hide a reality made up of employee slavery and poor quality raw materials.
There are two main accusations that have come up against the Haribo confectionery company in the German documentary of over 40 minutes that caused so much sensation: the fact of exploiting, even if indirectly, Brazilian workers treated as slaves (through the choice of poor suppliers). ethics for one of the key ingredients of the candy, “carnauba wax”) and the fact of obtaining the gelatine for the candy from pig farms where the beasts live in appalling conditions.
Brazilian suppliers of carnauba wax for Haribo (wax extracted from the leaves of a tropical palm, which would be used to make candy shiny) keep their workers on the plantations all day, forcing them into grueling shifts, in which they let them sleep all day. ‘goodbye, in a camper or on the ground, without being able to use the bathrooms, drinking dirty water from the rivers, for a total of ten euros a day. Among the workers, many minors, many women.
And while Haribo can say it hasn’t been aware of how their suppliers treat workers in northern Brazil, it becomes harder to think that they don’t know how their German supplier makes gelatine . Or rather, we all know that gelatine is of animal origin, and that it comes especially from pigs too. The problem is that the pigs in question from which Haribo indirectly obtain the jelly for the gummy candies are raised in terrible conditions, and in contempt of the most basic hygiene standards. But how can such serious problems come to light in a European, and therefore Western, company that should have standards and norms to follow, both in terms of ethics and hygiene?
The key word is “outsourcing” and we must realize that it does not concern “only” Haribo , but all large, medium and even small companies that entrust part of their production to external suppliers, without asking why. of very competitive prices. The same reason why the big chains of fashion stores have ended up in the eye of the storm: fabrics made in the poorest parts of the planet, where unscrupulous suppliers behave like real slavers. Not to mention the food issue: in the case of gelatine it is a real raw material. Gelatine from grazing animals, raised on grass, with all the hygiene controls, or from pigs fed on acorns and chestnuts, costs in fact a hundred times more, and is not only a nourishing product, because it is rich in top quality collagen, but hygienically safe. Of course, without resorting to an ingredient of animal origin, agar agar , derived from the red algae of China and Japan, could be used. But even there, one should be sure of the origin of the product, of its biological origins:would you trust to eat gelatine obtained from algae from polluted seas, processed in poor hygienic conditions, with a toxic percentage of heavy metals? These are problems that are rarely mentioned on the internet, but which are present in the reports of the FDA, which however considers agar agar safe in the absence of further data ( source ).
But this is the problem of outsourcing: that the final consumer can never be aware of the origin of the ingredients and the conditions of those who work for that product to be on the supermarket shelves at a competitive price .