Haribo, slavery. Boycott


Haribo-the German giant known for its teddy bear-shaped gummy candies-is at the center of an investigation by public TV station Ard. Junk-food, animal abuse and slavery. Just enough to trigger a boycott campaign.

The documentary ‘Haribo Check’ (1) first sheds light on the composition of the world-famous gummy candy. The poor nutritional profiles-343 kcal, 77 g of carbohydrates including 46 g of sugars in 100 grams of ‘teddy bears’-come from equally poor raw materials. Sugar and glucose syrup at will, animal gelatin, water, additives and flavorings.

The investigation begins on the pig farms that supply the carcass waste from which the gelatin is extracted, in northern Germany. Filth and mistreatment, in defiance of rules on hygiene and animal welfare. (2) And who would have thought, except through Ard’s investigation, that the byproducts of such horror could end up in Haribo gummy candies? But that is not all.

Slavery, including child slavery, in Brazil’s Northeast., in carnauba palm plantations, is another phenomenon that is difficult to imagine on the old continent. But it is just as real and dramatic because of the intolerable violation of human rights. Endless days of grueling work, with no drinking water or sanitation available. ‘Workers treated like objects, worse than animals‘, according to the official interviewed at the Ministry of Labor. In the name of carnauba wax, which Haribo uses to impart shine to candies.

The unsustainability of Big Food ‘s supply chain is the number one issue to be addressed in the food sector today. Slavery and child slavery are widely documented in the production of palm oil, cocoa (West Africa), tuna, and canned fish (Southeast Asia).

Words are not enough, CSR is confirmed greenwashing, (3) big bear business oozes blood. Pending a structural overhaul of the supply chain, boycotting is the only way.

Haribo? No thanks

Dario Dongo


(1) The documentary ‘Haribo Check,’ unfortunately still only in German, is available on YouTube https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=KOtmkIFsEAE&ref=drnweb.repubblica.scroll-2

(2) The images are not surprising, given that it was from Germany that the pork at the origin of thehepatitis E outbreak that broke out in England originated

(3) It is therefore necessary to change paradigm, from Corporate Social (ir)Responsibility to CSV, Contributing to Social Values


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Dario Dongo, lawyer and journalist, PhD in international food law, founder of WIISE (FARE - GIFT - Food Times) and Égalité.