Dutch stores selling fish produced by Uyghur forced labor
Dutch supermarkets sell fish produced by forced labor in China, NU.nl reports based on extensive research by The Outlaw Ocean. It concerns products from the British company Nomad Foods, which markets brands like Findus, Birds Eye, and Iglo. Almost every supermarket in the Netherlands has Iglo products on their shelves.
China is the largest player in global fishing, and its products end up in Western shores through intermediaries. The journalists in The Outlaw Ocean spent years investigating abuses at Chinese fishing companies. They found that the sector uses forced labor, violence against ship crews, and illegal fishing in other countries’ waters.
The researchers found several Dutch companies - NorthSeaFood Holland, Seafood, Connection, and Wout Taal Import, among others - that import fish produced in Chinese factories that use forced labor. The people forced to work in these companies come from the Xinjiang region, where many Uyghur people live under severe oppression from the Chinese state.
The importers supply the fish to Nomad Foods, among others, which processes it into products for various brands. Iglo is the most common one in the Netherlands.
NU.nl asked supermarket umbrella organization CBL and various chains, including Albert Heijn, Plus, and Jumbo, for a response. “None of the parties directly addressed the abuses in the supply chain of Iglo products,” the newspaper wrote. “The supermarkets refer to the producer, need more time for a response, or refer to the CBL.” None of the importers mentioned would respond to NU.nl’s questions about the matter.
Jumbo did tell NU.nl that it would submit the findings to Nomad Foods. “We have no access to the origin of their products, but they have signed the code of conduct. We will, of course, pass this on to them,” a spokesperson said.