KUALU LUMPUR, MALAYSIA — PureCircle, Inc. on June 29 said the U.S. Customs and Border Protection has released PureCircle shipments of stevia extracts from China. The C.B.P. on June 1 detained the shipments at all U.S. ports of entry based on information the C.B.P. obtained indicating the stevia extracts and their derivatives, which are used as sweeteners in foods and beverages, were produced with the use of convict labor.
PureCircle provided documentation to show the information was inaccurate.
“We continue to work actively with C.B.P. to correct all inaccurate allegations from others regarding our labor practices,” PureCircle said on June 29. “As the stevia industry leader, PureCircle remains committed to human rights and fair use of labor. As we expand our vertically integrated supply chain, we remain committed to traceability and transparency as a critical way we verify compliance with our global labor police and supplier code of conduct.”
For documentation, PureCircle pointed to an audit report from Bureau Veritas, an independent third party. The report found no evidence of forced, bonded or involuntary prison labor; proper procedure of assessing suppliers; proper traceability systems in place to trace each batch of extract produced to leaf supplier; and no purchase records from Inner Mongolia Hengzheng Group Baoanzhao Agriculture and Trade L.L.C.
For more documentation supplied by PureCircle, a SEDEX Members Ethical Trade Audit found no forced, bonded or involuntary prison labor; conformance with regulations regarding employment freely chosen, child labor and regular employment. A Jiangxi South law firm report found PureCircle’s product was not being made by Inner Mongolia Hengzheng Group Baoanzhao Agricultural and Trade, L.L.C., the external supplier in question.PureCircle’s global headquarters are in Kualu Lumper. The company grows stevia plants on farms in China, Kenya and Paraguay, and it has an extraction plant in China.