Nutella, Ferrero Rocher rocked by child labour claims

Nutella, Ferrero Rocher may be taken off shelves over child labour claims.
Kurdish migrants as young as 10 may have picked the hazelnuts in your Nutella. Photo credit: Getty

Questions are being raised about the future of Nutella and Ferrero Rocher products over claims they may be partially the result of child labour.

A BBC investigation claims that the hazelnuts used in them come from Turkey, where they're "picked mainly by migrants, including children, who work long hours for very low pay".

Woolworths, the Australian supermarket chain that owns Countdown in New Zealand, said it's looking into the report and seeking a response from its supplier.

But Ferrero - the Italian manufacturer that produces Nutella, Ferrero Rocher and Kinder Surprise, among other products - says "there is no suggestion of Nutella or any Ferrero product being removed from shelves". 

Children as young as 10 work up to 10 hours a day on hazelnut farms in Turkey for a daily rate of 95 lira (NZ$26), according to the BBC.  

The majority of the hazelnut pickers are Kurdish migrants - an ethnic minority group living predominately in the poor south and east of Turkey.

Ferrero is said to be the biggest buyer of hazelnuts from Turkey, which provides nearly three-quarters of the world's supply.

It says it aims to eliminate child labour, but adds that it's complicated as "the hazelnut supply chain is very complex and involves many stakeholders".

"The BBC report raised some concerning allegations regarding how some suppliers to Ferrero operate in country. We do not tolerate child labour in any form," Ferrero said in a media statement.

"We have launched a full investigation to understand how we can further strengthen the measures we already have in place. This is an extremely complex issue in Turkey, but we remain committed to ensuring that all necessary action is taken as we move towards our commitment for 100 percent of our Hazelnuts to be traceable by 2020.

While Woolworths confirmed it wants answers from Ferrero, it wouldn't confirm nor deny to Business Insider Australia if it would pull products off shelves if it wasn't satisfied with those answers.