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New Zealand a pawn in slave prawn industry

Damien
O’Connor

Fisheries and Food Safety Spokesperson
11 June 2014 MEDIA STATEMENT

New Zealand a pawn in slave prawn industry

New Zealand supermarkets need to reassure their customers their seafood isn’t produced using Asian slave labour, Labour’s Fisheries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says.

A six-month investigation by The Guardian has found workers from throughout Asia have been forced to work for no pay, often for years at a time, under the threat of extreme violence. Seafood produced from these workers is sold in major Western supermarket chains.

The world’s largest prawn framer, Thailand-based Charoen Pokphand Foods, buys fishmeal for its farmed prawns from suppliers using this alleged slave labour.

“Charoen Pokphand Foods sells its products throughout New Zealand. Its pre-made meals are sold under the name CP Foods but its raw frozen seafood is sold here under other brand names.

“Kiwis would be horrified to learn prawns they are eating have been produced under these shocking conditions.

“New Zealand supermarkets need to ascertain whether slave labour has been used in the production of their seafood products.

“This case highlights the need for Country of Origin Labelling. While some seafood on our shelves states it is made in Asia, producers currently have the option of removing that label when controversies such as this erupt.

“Kiwis want to put their morals where their mouths are. Labour is calling on supermarkets to allow their customers to make informed decisions about where their food comes from,” Damien O’Connor says.


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