United States has placed a ban on the importation of palm oil from Malaysian company FGV Holdings.
This is consequent to an investigation into allegations that it uses forced labour, the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency announced.
FGV which is one of the world’s largest crude palm oil producers, and some other suppliers of the oil used in everything from food and cosmetics to biodiesel have long faced allegations from rights groups over labour and human rights abuses.
Responding to the allegations, FGV said “it is fully committed to respecting human rights and to upholding labour standards”.
The US agency announced that the ban was triggered by a year-long investigation that revealed signs of forced labour such as abuse of the vulnerable, deception, physical and sexual violence, intimidation and threats, and retention of identity documents.
CBP said in an official statement that the investigation also raised concerns that forced child labour was potentially being used in FGV’s production processes, adding that the ban would come into effect immediately.
“The use of forced labour in the production of such a ubiquitous product allows companies to profit from the abuse of vulnerable workers,” Brenda Smith, Executive Assistant Commissioner of CBP’s trade office disclosed.