Major Thai association brings shrimp processing in-house
Reacting to the Associated Press’s shrimp processing slavery investigation in Thailand, the Thai Frozen Foods Association is the latest to say shrimp processing should be brought in-house.
Thai Union, the company whose subcontractors were blamed for the slave labor, announced last week that all shrimp processing would be done in-house. And National Fish and Seafood, a major buyer of sustainably farmed shrimp, said it has not been buying wild fish or shrimp in Thailand since human rights issues came to light several years ago.
On 21 December, the Thai Frozen Foods Association (TFFA) today moved to eradicate third party pre-processing operations from the Thai shrimp supply chain of its members, effective at the end of this month.
“The Association’s groundbreaking move follows a vote by members to reduce the risk of any illegal labor practices in the Thai shrimp supply chain. From 1 January, 2016, all members of the TFFA will bring all shrimp pre-processing operations in-house in order to exercise full control over the work conditions of employees in the extended supply chain,” according to a statement from the association.
“As an Association and a representative of Thailand seafood industry, we are committed to fight against human rights violations and illegal labor in the supply chain”, said Dr. Poj Aramwattananon, president of the Thai Frozen Foods Association. “It is clear that complete transparency and full oversight is required. For this reason, our members voted to bring all pre-processing operations of the shrimp supply chain in-house, so that there could be no question of any impropriety at any stage of our processing.”
Any Association members who continue to source from external preprocessors starting 1 January, 2016, “will face the severe consequences of losing their membership and their ability to export Thai shrimp product overseas”, Dr. Poj added.
In support of the transition, TFFA will work with local NGOs to offer employment opportunities to workers who were previously employed by external preprocessors. “We will continue to work with all stakeholders to address critical issues for the industry. It is a significant initiative that will help strengthen an oversight of the Thai shrimp supply chain,” Aramwattananon said.