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Haribo Launches Internal Investigation After Documentary Claims Workers Live And Work In 'Slavery' Conditions

Conscientious candy lovers are freaking out over news that the making of Haribo's gummy bears involves modern-day slave labor. German broadcaster ARD aired a documentary about Haribo on Markencheck. It's complicated, but you wouldn't know it from the headlines.

Headlines are screaming that gummy bears are made with slave labor:

Gummy lovers' reactions were swift and a bit dramatic:

The film shows the lives of Brazilian workers who harvest carnauba wax, which is used to make the gummy candy shiny and keep it from sticking together. Many harvesters are children, and they perform dangerous work in horrible conditions for very low pay. Many sleep outside and don't have access to clean drinking water or toilets, and they earn the equivalent of $12 per day. The film also focuses on pork gelatin, another ingredient used in gummy candies. The documentary shows pig farms where the animals are crowded into pens, often with open wounds and covered in their own feces.

The headlines are certainly shocking, but they're not entirely accurate:

Haribo has begun an internal investigation into the sourcing of the two ingredients in question.

After seeing the documentary, a spokesperson issued the following statement: 

We would like to emphasize that we are extremely concerned by some of the images shown on the consumer program broadcast on German TV channel ARD last week.  The conditions on the pig farms and the Brazilian plantations shown are insupportable.  Currently, we are investigating together with our suppliers the precise nature of the conditions in the companies that supply them.  Should it transpire that urgent improvements are needed in this area, we will insist on their implementation and will not rest until these improvements have been implemented.

The 45-minute documentary, which is in German, can be seen below:

H/T: Cosmopolitan, Vice