Consumers sue pet food company over seafood slave labor


Sean Murphy, SeafoodSource online editor

Published on
August 31, 2015

Another collection of consumers is suing a food company over human trafficking allegations, this time accusing a major American pet food company of using seafood produced by slave labor.

California residents Melanie Barber, Robert and Esther Malone and R. Grace Rodriguez all filed a lawsuit last week in U.S. federal court as a class-action suit “on behalf of themselves and all other similarly situated” against. Nestle USA and Nestle Purina Petcare Co.

The suit indicates Nestle partners with Thailand’s Thai Union Frozen Products to procure seafood for its pet food. The suit cites reports of slave labor being used in the Thai fishing industry, and accuses Nestle of knowing this but not disclosing this information to the consumer.

“Knowing that the (sic) much of the fish sold in Nestlé’s pet food is likely the product of slave labor is material to consumers not wishing to support slave labor with their purchasing power,” the suit states. “In the course of marketing and selling its pet foods, however, Nestlé materially omits and does not disclose the likelihood that much of the fish in its pet food is the product of slave labor.”

Earlier this month, another group of consumers led by a California resident filed a similar lawsuit against wholesale club Costco, accusing the club of selling shrimp produced through slave labor, and not disclosing this on its packaging.

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