It turns out that the hazelnuts, a key ingredient used by Ferrero to make their popular chocolate spread, come from a fairly dark place. An investigation by The New York Times has found that the nuts are farmed largely by workers, some of whom are children, in grim conditions living on miserable wages. The majority of the world's hazelnuts come from Turkey, a third of which are bought by Ferrero. On these farms, the work is bleak and dangerous as labourers haul heavy bags of hazelnuts up steep slopes, many of them during 12-hour shifts, seven days a week.
The men and women who toil to produce the hazelnuts are paid little, often far less than what they were promised when they took the job. Many of them are refugees from nearby Syria who have few legal protections and so are easily exploited by the farm middlemen who recruited them. One man told the Times that he earned just $10 a day, half of what he was told he'd take home. Often, families are forced to put children to work to help supplement their parents' poor pay. Because of their wages, these people also live in desolate accommodation. One man described how he and his teenage sons live in a decaying house, though many others live in plastic tents along the roadside.
In a statement, Ferrero said that it expects the farms it buys from to be “dedicated to providing its people with safe and decent working conditions" but wouldn't name a single farm it uses. The Fair Labor Association, meanwhile, said that in six years of checks it "never found a single hazelnut farm in Turkey in which all decent work principle standards are met. Across the board. Not one.”So, yeah. Nutella is cancelled.