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19 Feb 2016

Emma Gallimore, Legal Newsline (USA)

US court rules in favour of Nestlé in case alleging forced labour in Thailand under Transparency in Supply Chains Act

“Plaintiff loses challenge to Calif. law in forced labor case over Fancy Feast, appeal to Ninth Circuit”, 27 Jan 2016

Plaintiff Melanie Barber has…lost the first in what is likely to be a wave of class action lawsuits challenging California’s Transparency in Supply Chains Act…In Barber v. Nestle USA, Barber alleged that Nestle had violated consumer protection statutes by failing to disclose that some ingredients in its cat food products might have been sourced using forced labor…“Both parties acknowledge that some proportion of the small fishing ships use forced labor, but that it is virtually impossible to say how pervasive the problem is.”…“The law says all we have to do is disclose our efforts to ensure compliance, but we don’t have to disclose every single instance”.  The court agreed with Nestle, finding that Nestle’s disclosures were protected under California’s safe harbor doctrine…[T]he California Transparency in Supply Chains Act of 2010…requires any retailer doing business in California and also having annual worldwide gross receipts exceeding $100 million to specifically disclose efforts to eradicate slavery and human trafficking as related to its supply chain…“This law is not to clean up or straighten out supply chains,”…“But rather you have to disclose what efforts they’re taking”…Barber has appealed the decision…

Part of the following timelines

Nestlé faces new lawsuit in California court alleging use of fish sourced from Thai company using slave labour

Nestlé lawsuit (re forced labour in Thai fishing industry)