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Kids pick hazelnuts for your Nutella – broken supply chain


In August, the hazelnuts in Turkey will mature. When that happens, thousands of seasonal workers travel to the Black Sea coast of Turkey, where 70 percent of the world’s hazelnuts originate.

Working conditions are both dangerous, and exhausting, and at least one-third of the pickers are children.

That is the findings in a report by the Fair Labor Association (FLA), an international non-profit that brings together companies, universities, and NGOs in the work for better working conditions internationally.

“The work of picking hazelnuts is both dangerous and exhausting. They carry heavy bags in steep terrain, including the children, and they work seven days a week” states Sinem Kavak, who is a visiting scientist at Lund University, and has spent five years researching seasonal workers and hazelnut production in Turkey.

Down to seven years old!

“They like to work 11-12 hours a day. There are child laborers who are under the age of 12, and once in a while I have encountered children in the plantations who were under seven, ”says Sinem Kavak.

The working conditions of the nut pickers in Turkey are also described in the New York Times and the French investigative media Mediapart. According to them, the daily salary for a picker is between 13 and 18 Euro a day, the workers often live in tents without access to toilet or running water. At least a third of the workers are children aged 13-17.

They work an average of 9.5 hours a day, seven days a week and often have to pay a percentage of their wages to the middlemen who have provided them with the job.


Nutella buys a third

Hazelnuts from Turkey are bought by international chocolate makers such as Ferrero and Néstle. Ferrero, which produces the popular Nutella, among others, buys 30 percent of all the hazelnuts produced in Turkey, according to a report in The New York Times.

But on their website, they state that they have a sustainability program that means they can track where 25 percent of the hazelnuts they use come from.

Conversely, they do not know which nut plant three-quarters of the nuts used to produce Nutella come from.

Earlier this year, Ferrero wrote in an email to the New York Times that Ferrero is concerned about the safety and decency of their workers and that they are asking the owners of the hazelnut plantations do the same.

But the company did not deny that their nuts may be picked by children. I´ll leave you with that.


Original piece by Danwatch:

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