A major investigation by the Associated Press revealed overseas shrimp suppliers used slave labor to peel shrimp that eventually ended up in many U.S. grocery stores.
The AP investigation revealed that slave labor, which includes children, was being used in Thailand to process the popular seafood. The shrimp went on to be sold in major American grocers such as Walmart, Kroger, Whole Foods, Dollar General, Petco as well as restaurants Red Lobster and Olive Garden.
As part of their report, the AP said that shrimp is a major player in Thailand’s $7 billion seafood export business.
Both Red Lobster and Whole Foods have denied buying shrimp peeled using slave labor. Walmart did not deny the claims and instead issued a statement saying “we were horrified by the conditions and treatment of workers the reporters uncovered.”
The European Union on Thursday warned Thailand to “promptly” address the slavery concerns, threatening an EU seafood import ban, which would be a significant hit to the export-dependent nation.