Stevia Supplier Fined in Prison Labor Case

Aug. 28, 2020
An ingredients supplier has become the first American company fined for importing products made with slave labor under a 2015 law.

An ingredients supplier has become the first American company fined for importing products made with slave labor under a 2015 law.

PureCircle USA, a unit of Ingredion that claims to be the world’s largest supplier of the sweetener stevia, will pay a $575,000 fine under an agreement with U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The case was initiated because the stevia in question allegedly was produced in China using prison labor. Importing such products to the U.S. is banned under the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015.

Customs and Border Protection brought the action in 2016 after receiving a complaint from an unnamed nongovernmental organization. PureCircle settled with the agency for $575,000, which was less than 7% of the fine originally sought, the company said in a statement.

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